Sonny Bill Williams put a brotherly arm around Taniela Tupou’s shoulder as the Wallabies prop made an emotional tribute to his mother in Tonga after the Reds’ Super Rugby Australia grand final win on Saturday night.
Tupou, who played a part in setting up the Reds’ match-winning post-final whistle try against the Brumbies, revealed he had not seen his family since 2019.
Williams, who was part of the Nine/Stan Sports television commentary team, interviewed Tupou for his reaction to the victory, and then asked if he had a special message for his family.
The 135kg prop known as the Tongan Thor, showed his softer side by replying: “The last time I saw my family was back in 2019, so this one is for you mum.
“It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow so happy Mother’s Day.”
Tupou, 24, was born in Tonga, but joined Auckland’s Sacred Heart College on a rugby scholarship in 2014.
His explosive carries and try-scoring talent made him a YouTube sensation, and he moved to Brisbane in 2015 to launch his professional career.
He has earned 25 Wallabies caps since his test debut in 2017.
Tupou still has a mother and two sisters in Tonga, where his family lost their home in Cyclone Gita in 2017.
The category four storm destroyed the Pacific nation’s parliament building and badly damaged an estimated 40 per cent of homes in the island nation’s capital, Nuku’alofa.
Tupou – Australia’s player of the year in 2020 – made a trademark surge for the Brumbies’ line after a tap penalty in the 34th minute, which resulted in the match-winning try to Reds captain James O’Connor.
The Reds won 19-16 against a 13-man Brumbies side, reversing the outcome of the 2020 final.
This content was originally published here.