Taniela Tupou to miss Brisbane childbirth test
Australia’s hopes of reversing an ugly trend against England have taken a major hit with the news that father-to-be Taniela Tupou is set to miss the second Test in Brisbane.
Tupou and her partner are expecting a baby boy on July 9 – the same day the Wallabies will face the tourists coached by Eddie Jones at Suncorp Stadium.
By his own admission, the ‘Tongan Thor’ hasn’t been at his best for Queensland this season, but the quirky prop is arguably Australia’s most influential player – especially against the team’s strengths. England.
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Tupou told Wide World of Sports that he had spoken to Wallabies coach Dave Rennie about the impending clash and that it would be an easy decision to prioritize family over football.
“One hundred percent, especially if it’s your first (child),” Tupou said.
“I would 100 per cent miss a game to be there and support my partner…we’ve talked about it (with Rennie) but it seems pretty clear.
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“We’ll see what happens there, hopefully things will go well. He’s a boy and it depends if I get picked in the squad then. We’ll see what happens. “
The Wallabies are well served at a tight head with Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa providing a consistent work rate and leadership.
But if he misses a test, Tupou’s X-factor will be sorely missed against an English side who have won eight straight against Australia.
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Tupou, 25, was already preparing for life as a dad when he spoke with WWOS, cradling a box of LEGO Land Rovers at the Wallabies Hotel on the Gold Coast.
He backed himself up for being a “fun dad” and the heightened family responsibility coincides with his leadership status within the Wallabies setup.
Now in his sixth season as a Test player, he is aware of the need to offer more than his considerable ability on the pitch.
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“Especially coming into this camp, there are a lot of new faces and young boys,” Tupou said.
“I was so used to being the young pup, but I look around and I’ve probably been here for more than half the team. I’m not one of the older guys, but I’m here. for a while now.”
Tupou said talking in team meetings and in general around the group is starting to feel more natural.
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“It’s not my thing, but I think I have to do it. It’s good for me. I think a few of the boys like to hear my opinion on certain things and just see me lead, you know. J I’m so used to being this young man, never saying anything and not feeling comfortable being myself.
“I think I’m starting to get comfortable being myself and being a leader, I guess.”
Tupou said her family in Tonga was safe after January’s devastating tsunami.
It was supported by support from the rugby community and the Super Rugby Pacific fundraising initiative.
“People are having a hard time there, but ‘Tries for Tonga’ has already raised over $100,000, which is a lot of money,” Tupou said.
“I just hope the money goes where it needs to go. I know things can happen in Tonga and it’s people who don’t even need it, you know. So whoever runs the show there down, hope this helps people who need it most.”
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