September 10, 2021
Dual international and former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri wants Wallabies coach Dave Rennie to unleash prop Taniela Tupou in Sunday's Test against South Africa.
Tuqiri says it’s time to give the beast an opportunity to start wrecking ball since Tupou has been a bench forward in four of Australia's six Tests in 2021, playing just 52 minutes in the two Rugby Championship defeats to New Zealand.
Rugby.com.au reports that while it's obvious Rennie is attempting to use the Tongan Thor's running power to expose tiring defences, Tuqiri thinks it's a flawed strategy if Tupou's introduction comes at a time when a game is already too far gone for him to change the result.
He says Tupou is obviously a first-choice front-rower, particularly after the Springboks named a monster pack and the 25-year-old brings 132kg of grunt to the Wallabies pack.
"Maybe I'm old school, but I'd play my best XV. I'd start with my best XV and then let everything else get dealt with after that," Tuqiri told AAP.
"I know you probably want to bring him on when things have cooled down and people are tired and he can use his destructive running a little bit more.”
"You'd tell him that but I think for Taniela, he probably wants to start as well. So you've got to wonder what that's doing for his confidence from a mental point of view. For me, I want my best XV starting - I'm starting Taniela Tupou."
Tuqiri, though, believes there's nothing wrong with the Wallabies attempting to build their own playing style and is urging them to persist with it.
"When you've seen Wallaby teams of the past, successful Wallaby teams of the past, they have their own style," said the dual international.
"You watch New Zealand, they have their own style. South Africa has been lambasted for the style that they play but it's a winning style.”
"We're slowly getting there. We like playing with the ball in hand ... we've got the players to make that work. We just have to believe in it.”
"Those sort of things are hard to believe in at times or you lose a bit of confidence when you aren't winning. So they've just got to believe in the persistence of what they're doing," he added.
By Romeka Romena