Wallabies: Taniela Tupou provides ‘hopeful’ return date but unsure on Rugby World Cup chances

Dylan Coetzee

Wallabies powerhouse front-row Taniela Tupou has given a hopeful but unclear injury update as his Rugby World Cup hopes remain in doubt.

Tupou has been on the sidelines since Australia’s clash with Ireland in November’s Autumn Nations Series, where he suffered a ruptured Achilles.

Given the severity of the injury and the length of recovery, his World Cup was immediately thrown into doubt and, whilst there was some positivity in his update, it is still uncertain whether stars will align for him to travel to France later this year.

Focus on running again

For now, the monstrous prop is simply focused on continuing to build strength in his Achilles with the hopes of playing club rugby in July.

“At the moment, I’m focusing on trying to get that strength back on my Achilles and calf,” said Tupou.

“I think I’m two weeks away from running and I can’t wait for that.

“I’m not sure, maybe around July back playing some club footy – and who knows? It’s up to Eddie if he wants me to be part of the team.

“At the moment, my focus is getting back to running in two weeks’ time and hopefully get some game time in club footy with the brothers.”

Possibility of a timely return

The timeline of his injury means that there is a chance he can build himself up through club rugby and possibly the shortened Rugby Championship before head coach Eddie Jones names his Wallabies squad for the World Cup.

“I’m lucky enough, I’ve got a few months before the World Cup for me to get that confidence back, back playing club footy and trying to earn my way back into international level,” he explained.

“Obviously Super Rugby will finish up at the time, but if I only have one month or two before the World Cup, I won’t be as confident.

“Obviously coming back from a big injury like this, you need a few good games to get that confidence back and I’m lucky enough I’ve hopefully got three months to try and get that back. Fingers crossed.”

Missing the game

Tupou admits the time away from the game has been difficult and that he wishes he could be helping the team once again.

The period on the sidelines has also offered a chance to reflect, and he admits he has not reached the heights he believes are possible in Wallabies jersey.

“After four months, I’m like, ‘you know what? I think I miss running’, and it’s hard watching my team, the Reds playing without me out there,” he said.

“I can only wish I was out there trying to help them out or be part of the team. This time around it’s a bit different. I sort of wish I was out there.

“Sitting back this time and looking back at what I’ve done in the jersey, I don’t think I’ve done enough.

“Hopefully when I’m back and if I’m back in the team I can get to the level where I think I can get to.”

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