After yet another setback for Australian rugby, with Mark Nawaqanitawase’s move, Taniela Tupou was announced at his new Super Rugby franchise. In shape and free from injury, Tupou wants to move past the injuries of the last two seasons, including the World Cup. In Melbourne, he signed a million-dollar, multi-year deal with Rebels last month. Rebels desperately need wins on the field and attention off the field, but his arrival may provide the boost they need. There’s a lot at stake for the player, Rebels, and the Wallabies.

Happiness is the key factor for Tupou to succeed, according to coach Kevin Foote. Tupou’s signing is critical for a franchise in dire need of a win. Tupou said the move to a new team puts him in a good place, and isn’t adding pressure to himself. The club has several new players, including Wallabies teammate Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

Before coming to Melbourne, Tupou talked to Nick Stiles, who was one of his first coaches at the Reds, to minimize pressure. Regarding his injury during the World Cup, Tupou said it was frustrating to miss three matches after playing the first one. His focus is now on improving his performance by staying on the field. His key goal is to achieve improved fitness.

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