Parenting, prevailing and proposing; June with Sione Tuipulotu

Parenting, prevailing and proposing; June with Sione Tuipulotu

Good things come in threes. If there’s anyone in Scotland’s Skycanner Americas Tour squad who won’t argue with that, it will surely be Sione Tuipulotu.

June had its fair share of life-changing moments for the centre; indeed, you’d be hard-pressed to conjure up a more memorable month. It started with Glasgow Warriors on the brink of a league semi-final in Ireland, when his partner gave birth to their first child.

“It was huge to be honest, it was just before the Munster game. It’s amazing, you listen to the other boys’ stories about their first born and you don’t know how it feels until you’re kind of in the hotspot yourself. I’m glad I’ve got my first one out the way, and I’m just ready for the Mrs to give me the all-go on number two!

“I named him after my dad, Tu’uhefohe Junior. There’s so many nicknames for him already, some boys are calling him Junior, and June because he was born in June. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of names thrown about, but I think my dad will just call him Tu’uhefohe.”

Next, to South Africa for the chance at the URC title with Warriors. Sione played the full 80 minutes as Glasgow overcame the odds to beat the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium to claim a first league title since 2015.

“I’ve never won anything in my life, at least professionally, so to finally do it, I’m just hungry to keep winning and hopefully it sparks something in a Scotland squad as well so I know a lot of the Glasgow boys are trying to bring a lot of that into this squad and put our hands up to contribute as much as we can.

“I think it’s massive to show we can win in those big games.  We’ve been doubted in the past, so to finally put our hand up and do that consistently. Obviously test rugby is completely different and it offers different challenges, but like I said, a lot of boys got the taste for it and we’re just hungry for more now.”

Not yet satisfied, Sione had another of the biggest moments of his life so far to tick off pre-tour; proposing to his now-fiancée, Lara. One to wear his heart on the sleeve, his main emotion going into the proposal was one you might expect.

“Very nervous! It was directly after the celebrations of the URC final. I was anxious, I had ‘hanxiety’ so I just wanted to get it done before I went away on tour. Job done, now I’m going back to a happy home!”

Reflecting on it all, he added: “It was a massive month. To be honest, it’s kind of flown by. I’m missing the Mrs and TJ back home massively.”

Now out on his second summer tour, the 27-year-old’s Test career so far has been a whirlwind of sorts too. Not three years ago, Sione made his debut against Tonga at Scottish Gas Murrayfield in the 2021 Autumn Tests, and now this weekend he will co-captain Scotland against USA.

“It’s kind of weird, the last three years have sort of flown by to be honest. I was speaking to Matt Currie about how two years ago we were rooming together on the last summer tour, and my role was a lot different then and so was his. Things have moved pretty fast, but I just look to the boys who have been here longer than me and I just want to keep playing and contributing as hard as I can.

“It’s a new group as well, a lot of more experienced players are back home so it’s a chance for other boys to put their hand up, and also it’s a chance for us to mingle with some of the younger boys. That’s something I love to do, it makes me feel young again!

“I’m rooming with Duhan, which is a new experience. I’m really close to Duhi, and I’ve been hanging out with some of the young boys as well. I’m trying to get to know some of the boys from other clubs as well like Gussy (Warr). We’ve still got three weeks to left to go and hopefully we can get a win this weekend and then enjoy each other’s company after the game.”

Sione goes into his co-captaincy role having been rested last week, and says that the squad taking the field in Washington DC on Friday will look to emulate a performance he admired from the side featuring 10 debutants that faced Canada.

“It’s actually quite cool to sit in the stand and watch 10 boys who have worked really hard in their own respective clubs and on their own journey. To go out and put out that performance, I thought it was really professional and impressive.”

He added on the USA: “I’ve never played them, I’ve only watched them play on the laptops here. I think one thing everyone can say about Americans is they’re really patriotic and passionate about their country, so I’m expecting a passionate outfit, and we’ll match that.”

Watch USA v Scotland live on TNT Sports 1 this Friday at 11.30pm BST.

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