Quinn Tupaea learned of All Blacks selection while in camp with Māori squad

Maori All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea busts through a tackle during last year’s clash with Moana Pasifika in Hamilton. Picture: STUFF SPORTS

Just like the man himself, the first Māori All Blacks assistant coach Roger Randle heard of rising star Quinn Tupaea’s All Blacks selection was during Monday’s televised squad announcement.

“It was all a big surprise for everybody there. We thought we’d just watch it out of interest for our Super Rugby team-mates as well, but for Quinn to hear that was pretty special,” Randle said.

“I wish we did [get a heads-up]. I did Fozzy’s [All Blacks coach Ian Foster’s] lawns a couple of weeks ago but no inkling.”

The Māori All Blacks were forced to make a last minute change to their squad for their two-game series against Samoa after Chiefs second-five Tupaea was handed a shock call-up to the New Zealand men’s national team.

He has been replaced by Chiefs team-mate Rameka Poihipi, who made four appearances, including one start, during Super Rugby.

”We’ve told Quinn to take his gear off and leave it in the room for him,” Randle quipped.

The Māori All Blacks watched the squad announcement together as a team after dinner on Monday and Randle said everyone was thrilled for Tupaea, who was left stunned when he heard his name read out.

“You could see the blood go out of his face when the announcement came, but it was awesome. Obviously we were all around him and gave him a high five and a bit of a hug.

“It’s a special moment for him and his family. He went out and rang them on his phone, but we’re stoked for him.

 

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