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Rugby: 'Tongan Thor' prop Tupou signs four-year Australia deal

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Promising young Australia prop Taniela Tupou has signed a four-year contract extension that will keep him with the Wallabies and Queensland Reds until after the 2023 World Cup.

The 23-year-old tighthead, nicknamed “Tongan Thor” for his powerful running as a schoolboy in New Zealand, came off the bench for the Wallabies in their 47-26 win over the All Blacks on Saturday.

Described as the “strongest guy I have ever seen” by his experienced rival for the Wallabies number three shirt Sekope Kepu, Tongan-born Tupou has played 14 tests with three starts since moving to Australia straight out of high school.

“I’m very excited to sign for the next few years. Queensland and Australia offered me the first opportunity out of school and I feel I have more to do to repay that faith,” Tupou said in Melbourne on Monday.

“I only started playing consistently in the last two or three years, so I think there’s still more for me to offer in Australia for the Reds and Wallabies.”

The signing is a welcome boost for Australia, who have often struggled to develop world class front-row talent over the years.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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