Mosese Tuipulotu signing explained as Edinburgh coach makes Scottish-qualified argument

Don’t compare him to older brother Sione, says Everitt

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Sean Everitt said it was his job to develop Mosese Tuipulotu into a Scotland international as he explained the decision to bring in a player from overseas rather than promote from within the club.

Tuipulotu, the younger brother of established Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu, has signed a two-year contract and will arrive in the summer after parting company with the New South Wales Waratahs.

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The hope is that he will have as big an impact as Sione who joined Glasgow Warriors in 2021 but Everitt cautioned against comparing the two players. While both are centres, the Edinburgh coach is keen for Mosese to be viewed in his own right.

Mosese Tuipulotu on the attack for New South Wales Waratahs against Crusaders during a Super Rugby Pacific match in Christchurch. (Photo by SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images)Mosese Tuipulotu on the attack for New South Wales Waratahs against Crusaders during a Super Rugby Pacific match in Christchurch. (Photo by SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Mosese Tuipulotu on the attack for New South Wales Waratahs against Crusaders during a Super Rugby Pacific match in Christchurch. (Photo by SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images)

The 23-year-old initially resisted overtures from Scottish Rugby to leave Australia. Moves were made last season to entice him to Glasgow, with Scotland coach Gregor Townsend involved in the negotiations. Mosese opted to remain with the Waratahs at that point but has now decided to follow his brother to Scotland where he is likely to be fast-tracked into the national side and could even be involved in this summer’s tour of North and South America.

Everitt said there was a dearth of young centres at the club and that he had looked at several overseas candidates for next season before deciding that it made sense to bring one in who was Scottish-qualified (SQ).

“When I came in I felt we were in need of another young centre,” said Everitt, who was appointed Edinburgh coach last summer after working in South Africa with the Sharks and the Bulls. “We do have really good centres at the club in Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, James Lang and obviously a young Matt Currie, and if you look to the future of Edinburgh Rugby and if we want to build within the club it’s good that we have guys coming through the system.

“We all know that he’s 23 years old, he’s part of the Waratahs Super Rugby squad at the moment and we want to develop his game so that one day he can play for Scotland.

“We did have other options earlier on in this season with guys in other countries but with a guy like Mosese coming up as an SQ-qualified player already it just makes sense that we assist in helping develop Scottish rugby.

“I don’t know Mosese that well but I spoke to Sione at the end of last year about his brother to see how he was doing. At that stage he had made a decision to stay in Australia. Obviously, he’s had a change of mind and we’re just very glad we’ve managed to get him while he’s available.

“He’s not quite where Sione is at the moment and we don’t want to compare him with his brother because they are two different types of player, but he is a big young fellow with good offload skills and he has the ability to get you across the gainline. And at times that’s something that’s been lacking for us.

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“We need to understand where he’s at. He’s 23, he is developing as a rugby player and it’s our job as coaches to get him into the national squad.”

Glasgow have considerable strength in depth at centre, with Sione, Huw Jones and Stafford McDowall all established Scotland internationals which goes some way to explaining Mosese’s decision to go to Edinburgh rather than Scotstoun. The Warriors are also well served in that position in terms of their academy players whereas Everitt feels Edinburgh don’t have young centres at the club who are ready yet to step up from academy level to the United Rugby Championship.

The coach said it was his job to keep the club competitive in the URC while also developing the best young talent and he played down concerns about bringing in another player from overseas

“I can only comment for Edinburgh Rugby,” said Everitt. “I know that Glasgow have got a number of young centres coming through, and they fill those positions in the Scotland Under-20 team.

“I think it would be naive to think that [Edinburgh’s] under-20 players that play in their age group can compete at the highest level of the URC. The top competitions aren’t there to develop. They need to develop and dominate in their age group to be able to be selected.

“It’s about players earning their stripes to play in the URC. At Edinburgh at the moment we don’t have young centres in our academy that are showing that potential. We’ve got Matt Currie who has had an unbelievable season for us. Whether it be at 12, 13 or on the wing, he’s always first down on the team sheet when we’re doing selection.

“So when you don’t have [more of] those type of players, you need to find players. It doesn’t matter whether the player was born in Scotland or not, he’s Scottish qualified. We have guys in South Africa that might not have been born there but have gone on to play for South Africa. Likewise in other countries. I don’t see that as an issue.”

The Australian-born Tuipulotu brothers qualify through their grandmother from Greenock but could have also represented Tonga, their father’s birthplace. Mosese said last year that his ambition was to play for the Wallabies but he has had limited game-time with the Waratahs and has now decided to make a fresh start in Scotland and is looking forward to going up against Sione who is four years his senior.

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“I’ve actually never played against my brother and the derby between Edinburgh and Glasgow looks like a pretty cool fixture to be a part of,” he said. “If I do happen to get the opportunity to play in it, I’m sure it’ll be a special moment with Sione on the other side. I’ll look to expose him!”

Mosese, whose deal is subject to visa and medical clearance, is powerfully built, weighing in at 16-stone, and is 6-foot tall. “I like to carry hard and enjoy the contact area of the game but also like to get my team-mates involved as much as I can,” he added. “I’m excited to showcase my skill set in front of them.”



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