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Wallabies prop Schoupp looking for A-grade performance

By AAP
Blake Schoupp of ACT Brumbies celebrates winning during the Super Rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies at Allianz Stadium on February 24, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Pete Dovgan/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Schoolteacher-turned-World Cup prop Blake Schoupp is fortunate Wallabies coach Eddie Jones saw something in him that his students didn’t, with the youngsters back in Australia unimpressed by his efforts on the field.

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Schoupp is set for his third Test when Australia take on Fiji in a high-stakes pool clash in Saint-Etienne as his whirlwind transition from the classroom to rugby’s biggest stages continues.

Last year, the 24-year-old health and physical education graduate took on his first teaching position at a Sydney high school, Edgeware, that specialises in troubled kids; many expelled from other schools with some returning from youth detention centres.

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Schoupp said he shared a video with his students as he was due to leave to take up a training contract with the Brumbies, but they were far from excited.

“I actually put up one of my games on the big screen because all the kids were asking me and they were all like criticising me because they saw me walking around the field,” he said.

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Luckily for Schoupp, whose younger brother Aaron plays for NRL club Gold Coast, Jones liked what he saw in the front-rower who he famously described as “built like a brick shithouse”.

On the back of less than half a dozen matches for the Brumbies, he was on the plane to France and was part of Australia’s opening win over Georgia in Paris.

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He said playing in a World Cup was something he dreamed about as a kid while packing down for the Woonona Shamrocks in Wollongong, with his dad Brendon as coach.

Schoupp’s family has arrived in France minus Aaron, who is awaiting the birth of his first child.

Schoupp said his World Cup campaign was about making his parents, including mum Michelle, proud.

“It’s special, you know, this is why I do what I do, because I want to give them moments like this where they can see me … it’s moments like this that really makes me proud as a person.”

Head-to-Head

Last 3 Meetings

Wins
2
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
30
19
First try wins
67%
Home team wins
67%

He said he hadn’t turned his back on teaching again in the future with the kids keeping him grounded while also making him appreciate his own upbringing.

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“A lot of the students hadn’t had a lot of schooling in the periods before they came to our school … it was about just being there and providing an environment for them to come to learn and get away from whatever was going on outside of their lives.

“I wouldn’t say more well-rounded but I do give credit to the job that I had because it gave me the opportunity to be appreciative of what I had at the time.”

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