Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa’amausili called up by Eddie Jones, Taniela Tupou set to make comeback against Tonga


Eddie Jones has moved to shore up his scrum, drafting in props Blake Schoupp and Pone Fa’amausili to his squad ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against Argentina while releasing Taniela Tupou to play for Australia A.

With Allan Alaalatoa struggling on his return from injury and key props Tupou and Angus Bell not yet fit to play, the Wallabies’ scrum was smashed by the Springboks in one of the key reasons for their 43-12 hammering in Pretoria over the weekend.

Alaalatoa pancaked several times while the replacement front-row, with Zane Nonggorr on debut, was on roller-skates.

Blake Schoupp is in the reckoning to make his debut for the Wallabies. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

As such, Jones has quickly taken action and looks set to call up Fa’amausili to take on Michael Cheika’s Pumas side, while Super Rugby rookie Schoupp, who impressed in his breakout season after moving to the nation’s capital, is a chance to make his Test debut.

If he was to be called up, it would continue his remarkable year where he went from overlooked at the Waratahs to cult hero at the Brumbies.

Indeed, scenes of him chest pumping in Melbourne during his side’s win over the Blues and working up the crowd in the Brumbies’ dramatic quarter-final win over the Hurricanes were moments that would have won over Australian rugby fans. But it was the strong scrummaging that backed it up that would have caught Jones’ eye.

 “What I like about him [Schoupp] is he’s one of those players I feel like he’s got a lot of growth in him,” Jones said after naming him in his April training squad.

“He’s an unheralded player, he’s built pretty close to the ground; if he’s standing behind a picket fence you’re not going to see much of him. He’s built like a brick s–t house, isn’t he?

“He’s perfectly built to be a prop, he scrummages hard, he’s hard on the ball, and he’s one of those guys, he’s come up the hard way and I feel like with an opportunity we might get a bit more out of him.”

As for Fa’amausili, the massive tight-head prop has found his way back into the squad after once again finding himself on the outer.

Work rate, fitness and attitude have been some of the reasons why he’s found himself in and out of the Wallabies over the few years, but there’s no doubting his capacity and physique.

Taniela Tupou is set to make his comeback against Tonga after being released by the Wallabies. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Jones has included the Rebels giant after releasing Tupou, who is set to make his comeback for Australia A against Tonga in Nuku’alofa on July 14.

It’s a smart move because as Alaalatoa discovered, returning from injury against the world’s best is no easy feat.

Tupou’s minutes are likely to be managed, but his return from a ruptured Achilles won’t coincide with the high-stakes nature of a Test.

It will also allow Tupou to build some confidence, with the prized prop admitting some self-doubt after his devastating injury last November against Ireland.

“If I have a month or two before the World Cup, I won’t be as confident,” Tupou said in April.

“Coming back from a big injury like this you need a few big games to get that confidence back. I’m lucky enough to have three months to try and get back. Fingers crossed.”

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