Tradie ‘hero’ who ended Wallabies brawl

 

BRISBANE tradie Liu Tupou had just watched an out-of-control drunk hurl abuse at his little brother, Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou, before turning towards the grieving family of teammate Lukhan Tui.

Tui's stepfather had suddenly passed away during the lead-up to the Wallabies' loss to Argentina on the Gold Coast, where players donned black armbands to honour the hulking forward's loss.

Liu Tupou was standing one row behind the Tui family when an ugly scuffle broke out in the stands after the abusive "fan" targeted 21-year-old Tui for the team's performance.

"I watched him yell at my brother and I didn't mind," Tupou said.

"But he was ignorant to Lukhan's struggle."

The fan faces off with Wallaby Lukhan Tui.
The fan faces off with Wallaby Lukhan Tui.

 

The Tupou and Tui families had been close ever since their sons travelled away from home to join the Queensland Reds as U20s talents in 2015.

The four Tupou brothers now all live in the same Carseldine home, but counted the Wallabies enforcer more like a fifth brother than a regular houseguest.

"Lukhan was just listening and nodding politely until the guy started calling him a coward and blaming him personally for the loss, saying he had no heart," Tupou said.

"All match I was thinking how brave Lukhan was, to try play for his Dad. Then this drunk idiot just ruined it."

Though Tupou did not see Tui's eight-year-old sister pushed to the ground in the scuffle, as nearby bystanders reported, he could tell the 198cm Wallaby was avoiding something on the ground.

"Everyone was trying to stop Lukhan because he would get in more trouble than the drunk guy, but I wish someone else had actually tried to fix the problem and pull the idiot away.

Liu Tupou, the older brother of Wallabies prop Taniela, takes matters into his own hands in the post-match confrontation.
Liu Tupou, the older brother of Wallabies prop Taniela, takes matters into his own hands in the post-match confrontation.

"I wish I had a better way to solve the problem, but someone tried to make (Tui) sad so I was going to stop him - the worst thing you could do for a friend that's gotten hurt is doing nothing."

Tupou grabbed the assailant by the throat and marched him away from the Tui family.

When the drunk made a lunge to return to the fight, the Norths Eagles reserve-grader slammed him to the ground, enabling police to restrain him.

Tupou's intervention has garnered praise online from individuals questioning why the task of removing the spectator had fallen to another fan instead of stadium security.

"That guy was able to get so close and he abused that privilege, and maybe players won't come sign autographs and meet the true fans any more because of it," Tupou said.

"I really hope he's banned."

Rugby Australia, Stadiums Queensland and Queensland police are investigating the incident.



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