Jonah Lomu, Brian O’Driscoll, Dan Carter – All game changers. Not a single one can compare to how this Tongan prop looks set to change things
Since the advent of the professional era of rugby union, the game has evolved considerably.
In the amateur days, good preparation for a game included a half day from work and some fast food, followed by a few pints afterwards.
Today, nutritionists, skills coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, even psychologists all play a part in the honing of the professional rugby player into the biggest and best they can be. It is no wonder that the game has gotten faster and the tackles, harder.
While the game grapples with the worry surrounding the increase in head injuries suffered by the sport’s elite as a result of this evolution, so too has it benefited from the increased fitness and skill of the the players.
It is this very fitness and skill that has captured the attention of rugby fans in Australia where Super Rugby outfit, the Queensland Reds, have in their squad, what can only be described as a freak of nature.
Tongan prop Taniela Tupou ticks all the physical boxes required to be a successful prop. At 5′ 10″ and 135kg, he is a beast of a man. But it’s not his physical size that have made Super Rugby sides stop and take notice of the 20-year-old, a man child nicknamed ‘The Tongan Thor’.
In what must have been some kind of genetic wizardry, Tupou has also be gifted with the speed of a winger and the agility of a centre. Think Stephen Ferris crossed with Brian O’Driscoll crossed with Tommy Bowe crossed with a Howitzer tank. Sounds a bit ridiculous right? Well just check this out.
What the hell do they put in the water over there?
As Tupou settles into his first professional contract, having played previously in the Auckland school rugby systems and then the Brothers Old Boys, it is expected that he will be unleashed on the Super Rugby stage later this season or early 2017. While we wait for him to appear, take a look at just what he is capable of, remembering that in the below video he is only 18 years old.
Video Credit: The Waterboy
It’s fair to say that if Tupou can stay fit, stay focused and continue on the path he is on, we will likely see him line out for the Wallabies, his preferred international choice, before too long. On the evidence of these videos, you can bet Australia’s rugby union are wondering what they ever did to deserve such a prodigious specimen.