Promising young utility back Semisi Tupou has been unveiled as the Melbourne Rising captain for the 2019 National Rugby Championship.
Fresh off being included in the leadership group for the Junior Wallabies’ historic run to the Final at the U20 World Championships, Tupou will add to his burgeoning resume when he takes over the reins from former Rising captain Angus Cottrell.
At just 20 years of age, Tupou has already earned nine Super Rugby appearances for the Rebels since joining the side in 2017, the year he also first represented the Junior Wallabies.
With three years of Super Rugby and U20 World Championships experience under his belt, Tupou has now stamped himself as an emerging leader for Victorian rugby.
Reflecting on his appointment as captain, Tupou says he feels honoured to be named skipper for season NRC 2019.
“I’m super excited to be announced as captain for the upcoming NRC season,” Tupou said.
“It’s very humbling to be viewed as someone who’s respected enough to lead a squad of such talented men.
“It’s also really exciting to be a part of a large group of local Victorian Club talent who’ll be playing in the NRC for the very first time, so to be able to lead them too is something I’m really looking forward to doing.”
Melbourne Rising Head Coach Pom Simona says Tupou’s appointment as captain reflects the esteem the wider playing group holds him in.
“Semisi is a well-liked member of the playing group and someone who is highly valued by the Club,” Simona said.
“On-field wise, Semisi is a super talent and showed his ability when starting in every match for the Junior Wallabies at this year’s U20s World Cup.
“I have full confidence in Semisi’s ability to not only be a terrific player for us in this year’s NRC, but to also be a role model for many of the younger club guys having their first taste of NRC.
“With so many Dewar Shield players selected this season, Semisi’s three years with the Rebels has engrained a professional work ethic within him, and I expect that to rub off on the new guys coming in.”
Tupou will lead the Rising for the first time when the side takes on the Canberra Vikings at Box Hill on Saturday 31 August at 1:30pm.