He may need thrown his hat within the ring to educate the Wallabies earlier within the week, however Brad Thorn’s manner and relationship along with his gamers might see the sport’s best commodity go away Australian rugby.
Taniela Tupou, the 25-year-old wrecking ball who’s poised to turn into the Wallabies’ subsequent $1 million man ought to he stay within the sport, is sad on the Reds and is critically contemplating his choices.
For greater than a fortnight there have been whispers he might be part of the Western Force, however relations with the Reds have soured to the purpose there are fears from Rugby Australia he might head abroad.
It’s not the primary time Tupou, who is taken into account an emotional participant, has toyed with the concept of leaping ship.
But many consider he’s a “homebody” and needs to stay in Brisbane, the place there’s a sturdy Tongan neighborhood and he’s shut sufficient to see his household and associates. He can also be anticipating his first little one in July.
Were he to take up a proposal abroad, he might earn as a lot as $1.5 million abroad with all three main markets – France, England and Japan – .
Last yr there have been rumblings that Tupou was pissed off by his workload with the Reds, the place the tight-head prop was frequently taking part in near 80 minutes.
Some consider that Tupou wants to know that if he’s going to be effectively remunerated he has to know he will probably be referred to as upon to play huge minutes.
Tupou, it’s understood, is fearful he will probably be burned out.
Regardless, Tupou is a as soon as in a technology participant however has but to dominate worldwide rugby like he has at Super Rugby.
The Reds have tried to rectify his complaints in 2022.
He got here off the bench throughout their win over the Force final month and has as soon as once more been named on the bench for Friday’s showdown with the Rebels in Melbourne regardless of Thorn suggesting the choice was as a lot about rewarding rising prop Zane Nonggorr.
“He’s (Nonggorr) done a lot of work and this is an opportunity for him, and it’s an important one,” Thorn mentioned.
“I feel like he’s earnt the right.
“It’s not just about Taniela getting a rest. It’s good to have balance for all the players and around their minutes, but it’s also important to acknowledge Zane. “
But with well-established forwards Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Angus Scott-Young heading overseas at season’s end, there is a fear that things are starting to tip over at the Reds.
Tupou is one of three disgruntled players at the Reds.
It’s understood the franchise’s most experienced player, Wallaby James O’Connor, has been tasked with representing the players to talk with the Queensland Rugby Union.
Previously Wallabies star Izack Rodda, who had been spoken about as Test captaincy material, walked away from the Reds after falling out with Thorn.
Others like James Slipper and Quade Cooper were also frozen out by Thorn, who wanted to change the culture of the franchise.
One thing that can’t be disputed is the relative success the Reds have had in recent years, with the franchise becoming Australia’s premier Super Rugby side under Thorn’s stewardship and the management of General Manager Sam Cordingley.
But after being promoted from the Queensland under-20s and Queensland Country sides, there is a fear that players are growing tired of Thorn’s head down, follow me approach as coach.
Rugby Australia is doing everything they can to keep Tupou from walking away from the game.
As one well-placed source said, “He’s one of those players that we will find money for; Taniela’s a one-off.”
Yet extra broadly, one other supply mentioned “this thing around Thorn and the Reds is a real problem.”
The Reds have been exploring methods of providing Tupou a sabbatical contract – or two – in order that he stays a Reds contracted participant.
Were he to take up the supply of a sabbatical contract in a lot the identical approach Wallabies captain Michael Hooper spent a yr with Toyota in Japan, the QRU’s choice is he signal a cope with a Japanese membership and be obtainable for Super Rugby in the course of the essential British and Irish Lions (2025) and residential World Cup (2027) campaigns.
The disquiet on the Reds comes after the QRU launched an fascinating assertion in response to an article earlier within the week, the place a RA supply was quoted as saying Thorn was not thought of a “team player”.
In response, the QRU was scathing.
“It’s disappointing to see these comments and after reading this, I have raised my concerns with RA CEO Andy Marinos and he will follow up directly,” QRU boss David Hanham mentioned.
“From the QRU’s perspective, Brad is doing a wonderful job here in Queensland leading our football program and developing our players to be best prepared for both national and international success with the Queensland Reds and Wallabies.”
Thorn, too, has hit again on the unnamed RA supply that was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, saying it was meaningless whereas additionally stating that every one members of the Wallabies teaching construction had hung out with the Reds, together with as lately as head coach Dave Rennie on Wednesday.
“It’s always interesting when someone says something like that, but there’s no name to it. Who am I talking to?” Thorn informed reporters on Thursday.
“If someone close to me, my staff or my family were critiquing me in that way, then it hurts. But who are you talking to? There’s no name to it.
“Throughout my playing career in league and union, I wasn’t a guy scoring lots of tries or (doing) flash stuff, I was hitting breakdowns or taking hit-ups in league — the team stuff.
“I’ve been big on team here. I don’t know what to say.”
Meanwhile, former NRL premiership-winner Suliasi Vunivalu will make his first look of the yr towards the Rebels.
His return comes not a second too quickly, with RA and the QRU serious about seeing how the previous NRL tryscoring machine returns after nearly a yr out of the sport with hamstring accidents.
Vunivalu is off contract at season’s finish and has been linked to the Redcliffe Dolphins, however RA desires to see how he returns earlier than providing him an extension of his present deal.
Former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, 39, has additionally linked up with the Reds and will but play if there’s a late harm to a different hooker.
“(We) just approached him and we’re down quite a few hookers, aren’t we? Thorn said.
“We get George Blake back next week, so just cover for the week hopefully.
“And it’s a cool thing having an experienced guy like him (in the squad). 100-plus Test player, 100-plus Super Rugby player, and a real Queenslander.”