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Prop Taniela Tupou makes bench for Reds

NZN 28/02/2017 Vince Rugari

Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles hopes Taniela Tupou has learned his lesson after serving a two-week ban for a "silly" headbutt on Liam Messam.

New Zealander Tupou, who captured attention with barnstorming displays in the Auckland secondary school competition three years ago, is in line for his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.

He was included on the bench for Thursday night's clash with the Western Force.

The 20-year-old prop had been slapped with the suspension after headbutting Chiefs captain Messam earlier this month at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.

His inclusion is the only change to the Reds' squad who beat the Sharks last week in their season opener, with Stiles keen for his new-look side to continue building on their combinations.

"He was pretty distraught, to be honest, when we were sitting in the judiciary hearing and he worked out he's got a two-match suspension," Stiles said of Tupou.

"He's put in a lot of work through the last few years and he wanted to be in the team against the Sharks so he was really disappointed.

"It can be tough - he's a 20-year-old playing tighthead and, through his deeds and social media these days, it's brought so much attention to himself.

"It won't be the first and it's not going to be the last time he's going to be targeted by a player. I just hope he's grown up and learned from that."

Reds: Karmichael Hunt, Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia'aua, Eto Nabuli, Quade Cooper, Nick Frisby, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sam Talakai, Stephen Moore, James Slipper (capt). Res: Andrew Ready, Taniela Tupou, Sef Fa'agase, Izack Rodda, Hendrik Tui, James Tuttle, Jake McIntyre, Izaia Perese.

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