Cape Town - The Reds have announced that frontrow Taniela Tupou has signed a contract extension which will see him remain at Ballymore until 2020.
Tupou joined the Brisbane-based franchise in late 2014 as an 18-year-old straight out of high school and has worked hard to establish himself as the Queensland Reds’ starting tighthead prop in 2018.
Still only 21 years old, Tupou made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 and last year earned his first Test cap for the Wallabies.
"Ballymore is my second home and the Reds are like my second family," he told the Reds' official website.
"This is where I started my professional career and I really want to contribute to the team.
"We’re learning a lot from Brad (Thorn). He knows how to win. We’re a young team who are working hard for each other, it feels like we are heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of that."
Tupou has also contributed significantly to the Queensland pathway, helping Queensland U20s to a national title and Brothers to lift the Hospital Cup in 2016, and playing a big role in Bond University Queensland Country’s first National Rugby Championship trophy last year.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: "When Taniela joined the Reds he was known as a ball runner because of some videos from his school days.
"He might still be known for his big runs, but he’s worked incredibly hard to develop the rest of his game and I’d like to think he’s known as a tighthead prop and a scrummager now too.
"Taniela is only 21 and he’s developed a lot since joining the Reds as an 18-year-old. We’re pleased he has committed to Ballymore and the team for another two years and it’s exciting to think how much more development he has in him if he continues to work hard."
Meanwhile, the Reds also announced the signing of South African-born prop Ruan Smith through to 2020.
Twin brother of JP Smith, who joined the Reds late last year, Ruan has joined Queensland Reds training at Ballymore as preparations ramp up for their second home game of 2018.
The 28-year-old has played more than 50 Super Rugby games, most recently with the Brumbies, since making his debut for the Western Force in 2012. He was originally signed with the Sunwolves for the 2018 Super Rugby season, but was released on compassionate grounds.
Smith said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Reds, especially considering my brother JP has already settled in and is loving it.
“My family is here and Queensland is our home, so it is great to be back here. I’m very thankful to the Sunwolves for understanding my situation and making it easier for me to return home to be with my family.
“My parents made sure the family were Reds members as soon as we moved to Toowoomba more than a decade ago and they’ve had the same seats at Suncorp Stadium ever since.
“We grew up as Reds supporters, so it’s a dream for us to be playing for them. It’s actually surreal how it has all worked out.”
Thorn said: “It’s good to be able to add some more experience to the squad. Ruan is a seasoned tighthead prop, he’ll add to the depth and competition for spots in the frontrow.
“We’ve been really impressed with Ruan’s brother, JP, so it’s great to welcome him into the team as well.
“They’re fine young men who train hard and are keen to contribute.”