Oval Talk

Meet ‘Turbo Tank’, the 18-year-old who is the new Jonah Lomu

Oval Talk


Taniela Tupou

If you sat down to design the perfect modern rugby player, you'd probably end up with something along the lines of 18-year-old New Zealander Taniela Tupou.

He tips the scales at just over 21 stones, covers 100m in 11 seconds and has the sort of clever handling skills that you'd normally find in an outside centre - and he's become a global sensation after a video of his astonishing hat-trick went viral across the internet.

Tonga-born Tupou has been nicknamed the 'Tongan Hulk' and the 'Tongan Thor', but we reckon the nickname 'Turbo Tank' fits him best - because once he gets a head of steam up, there's seemingly nothing that can stop him.

The display in the video above - which took place on Tupou's 18th birthday - came in a schools' match in which he turned out for Auckland's Sacred Heart College against Kelston Boys' Hugh School.

Given his sheer bulk it's perhaps not surprising that he plays as a prop - and he could well be the first front-row forward in rugby history who'll get the ball passed to him from wingers when they want to inject some more pace into the attack!

Needless to say, both the All Blacks and all of New Zealand's Super 15 teams are keeping close tabs on the youngster.

Only time will tell whether he goes on to have a brilliant career at the highest level, but if anyone can shake up the game as Jonah Lomu once did, it's Tupou.


Jonah Lomu destroys England at the 1995 Rugby World Cup

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Taniela Tupou - the new Jonah Lomu

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