Tupou will be unleashed from the start in Melbourne – and says he can still improve
Despite Tupou’s physical prowess and the fact that he played a high number of minutes at Super Rugby level, he has traditionally been used off the bench by Australia. Tuesday will be Tupou’s 27th test and only his seventh start at the international level.
As Tupou told the Herald before the series he is not too agitated whether he starts or ends.
“Everyone wants to start at this level for your country, but you want to do what’s best for the team,” Tupou said. “I actually don’t mind as long as I can wear the jersey. Allan is one of the best tight heads in the world and I rate it very well.
But as Tupou admitted, sometimes he’s guilty of treating himself too much off the pitch.
After signing his first professional rugby contract at a McDonald’s restaurant in North Auckland, Tupou says he’s always urged to drop a few pounds, which might surprise some given he’s arguably the most accessory. mobile and athletic in the world.
“Because I’m a big boy, if I can lose two or three pounds more, it will be easier for me,” Tupou said. “I know I can be a much better player if I wanted to.
“It’s up to me. Sometimes I just have to be careful what I eat. It’s all discipline. I love my food and I have to make a little sacrifice to lose a little weight and move around a little. better on the pitch There are times when you want to do your own thing.
“This year I played 80 minutes and there were a few games where I struggled because I had put on a few pounds.”
The Wallabies are unlikely to announce big changes on Sunday.
James O’Connor is still battling a groin injury and has an outside chance of being named, while eighth Lolesio is set to play alongside a central combination of Matt To’omua and Hunter Paisami again.
Tate McDermott could make his international debut against Jake Gordon if coaches reward his impressive display on the bench in Brisbane.
“With the potential trophy at stake, we’re not going to be looking a week ahead. I’m sure there will be a strong team selected, ”To’omua told reporters on Saturday.
“It’s a series of problem solving. I’m sure coaches juggle several things.
The Wallabies haven’t won back-to-back tests since the 2019 World Cup, when they beat Uruguay and Georgia in the group stage.
Rugby Australia is hoping for a 75% crowd at AAMI Park, which has not hosted a test since the Wallabies faced Ireland in 2018.
“With all that Melbourne has been through, it’s great to take the test there,” To’omua said.
Lolesio will be better: To’omua
Matt To’omua says rookie playmaker Noah Lolesio will learn a lot from a top-down performance in the first test after Australia were “cut in the nose” by a fast-start French team.
Lolesio, on his first start since the Sydney Bledisloe disaster last year, struggled to find his rhythm but improved as the game progressed.
He couldn’t make two drop-goal attempts but managed the penalty which gave Australia the lead for the first time in the 84th minute.
Lolesio and To’omua had never played a match together and will need to be more clinical in Melbourne.
Lolesio’s 10-year-old To’omua said the youngster would only enjoy more time in the test arena.
“Being out there in the heat of the battle of a test, you learn a lot more in terms of appeal under pressure,” To’omua said. “I was pretty proud of Noah. He probably had a slower start to the game, but really did us good when we needed him. You cannot buy this experience. It was a game [where] Noah knows he might not start well, but he knows he can definitely finish a game when he needs to. It is invaluable to him.
“We had a week and a little [training together]. The day before the game, we were like ‘Oh, this is the first time we’ve played together’.
“In games you learn how people are under pressure, you learn how people are in terms of trending, their calls and there is definitely some growth there.”
Australia recovered from a 15-0 deficit to seal a memorable victory and To’omua attributed the slow start to nervousness.
“We probably played around with ourselves a bit,” To’omua said. “Then we kind of got a punch in the face right from the start [when they scored] 15 [unanswered] points and we had to get by.
“While we played Super [Rugby] all year round, this is our first match of the Test season and winning a match through effort… is a positive point and will be very useful to us.
“It’s good to improve after a win and with a trophy up for grabs in our second game.”
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