Australia name ‘Tongan Thor’ in squad face Scotland

Taniela Tupou, pictured with head coach Michael Cheika, could make his Australia debut on Saturday after being picked on the bench to face Scotland. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Taniela Tupou, pictured with head coach Michael Cheika, could make his Australia debut on Saturday after being picked on the bench to face Scotland. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
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Prop Taniela Tupou has been named in the Wallabies squad to face Scotland at BT Murrayfield, just two days after becoming eligible.

Tupou, nicknamed the Tongan Thor when he became a schoolboy rugby sensation, joined the squad last week in anticipation of him being available for Australia’s last European tour match on Saturday in Edinburgh.

He will start on the bench at Murrafield.

Hooker Stephen Moore will also start in his last Test for Australia, after backing up Tatafu Polota-Nau in the last six Tests.

Moore announced this week he was retiring after this match, his 129th test since 2005.

Moore and Ben McCalman, in on the blindside flank for the injured Ned Hanigan, were the only changes to the line-up which lost to England 30-6 last weekend.

Coming into the reserves with Tupou were backup forwards Lukhan Tui and Tetera Faulkner, and back Henry Speight.

Video of Tonga-born Tupou bowling over allcomers in school games in New Zealand in 2014 went viral, and he was dubbed the Tongan Thor. After high school, he moved to Australia, where he had a brother and love for the Wallabies.

He signed with Queensland, and helped Queensland Country last week win its maiden National Rugby Championship. The 21-year-old Tupou has qualified for the Wallabies by residency.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper (captain), Ben McCalman, Blake Enever, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio.

Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tetera Faulkner, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Tui, Lopeti Timani, Nick Phipps, Karmichael Hunt, Henry Speight.