Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou became quite emotional during an interview with All Blacks legend Sonny Bill Williams after winning the Super Rugby AU final.
Tupou played a crucial role for the Reds as they beat the Brumbies in the most dramatic fashion thanks to a try from James O’Connor in the 85th minute of the game.
The Wallabies prop, also known as the ‘Tongan Thor’, hasn’t seen his family since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and wished his mother a happy Mother’s Day on Australian TV channel Nine.
This one meant so much to an emotional Taniela Tupou.🥲
— Rugby on Nine (@RugbyOnNine) May 8, 2021
“Oh man. Just thinking to last year at exactly the same time we lost in Canberra. We came here and worked hard this year and to get the win like that – I’m lost for words man. I’m so proud of the boys. We’ll enjoy that win.” Tupou told Williams.
“Last time I saw my family was back in 2019 so… This one’s for you mum. It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow so happy Mother’s Day mum.”
The Tongan Thor’s rapid rise in Australian rugby.
Tupou, who is originally from Tonga, moved to Australia in 2014 to pursue a career in professional rugby. The powerful prop joined the Reds in 2015, and qualified for the Wallabies through residency in 2017.
While the 24-year-old has lived in Australia for the last seven years, most of his family still reside in Tonga. Australia has had strict laws in place regarding international travel since the beginning of the pandemic, meaning that Tupou has been unable to return to Tonga since 2019.
The Wallaby played the entire match against the Brumbies, a feat rarely done by props, and made a crucial carry which created space for Reds captain O’Connor to slide over for the match-winning try.
The Australian international has been one of his country’s best players in recent years, scoring a late try to help seal the Wallabies’ 24-22 victory against the All Blacks in last year’s Tri Nations.
Tupou has been playing just as well for the Reds this season, and will hope to carry his fine form into the cross-country Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition which kicks off next weekend.