GREGOR TOWNSEND had been in touch with Mosese Tuipulotu, to encourage the Australian-born centre to follow his older brother, Sione, in moving north to join Glasgow Warriors when his contract with the Waratahs runs out at the end of the current Super Rugby season.
Newspaper reports in Australia claim that the 21-year-old has been offered in the region of Aus$225,000 [approximately £125,000] per year on a multi-year deal by Scottish Rugby, which is a threefold increase on his current salary.
“I was asked by Glasgow to have a chat with him,” Townsend confirmed. “I actually had a chat with him two years ago by mistake, because Sione had given his old mobile to him, and I phoned to chat to Sione and got him instead. So, we had a joke about that!
“He’s a player who is interesting one of the pro teams, and us in Scotland. Sione’s had such a great impact at Glasgow and with Scottish rugby, it’s wise of Scottish Rugby to follow up on someone of real potential.
“He’s a young player who has come back from a long absence with a knee injury, but he’s started the season really well for the Waratahs Academy and I think he’s in the 23 tomorrow for the game against the Hurricanes.”
Like his older brother, Tuipulotu qualifies to represent Scotland through a grandmother from Greenock. Last month, he was quoted as saying that his focus was on trying to earn international recognition in Australia, but his Scottish-based sibling then suggested that the situation might not be as clear-cut as that.
“I’m not sure it’s that true, to be honest – I don’t know if they mixed up a couple if quotes or whatever,” said the Scotland star. “My brother dances to the beat of his own drum and while I’m over here he wants to do his thing, so that might be staying in Australia or might be coming over here. He holds his cards close to his chest.”
If Mosese Tuipulotu does sign for Glasgow, he would become the third Australian born-and-raised centre on the club’s books, alongside his brother and Sam Johnson, who qualified for Scotland through residency in 2018.
The success Sione has enjoyed since moving to Scotland in the summer of 2021 will undoubtedly have registered with Mosese.
“He’s grown as a player,” said Townsend yesterday, after naming Sione vice captain of the Scotland side for Saturday’s match against Italy. “He’s shown a real strong defensive side to his game. We always believed he would be a creative player having watched him closely in Australia and Japan. He’s obviously got a very good carrying game, but I think his all-round game now – in defence, attack and kicking – he’s shown he is someone who has worked on his game and thinks a lot about it.
“He’s very well respected from the group, he leads a lot of our defence meetings and talks really well, but he’s also got a big role to play in attack.
“He was vice-captain when we played Chile in the summer, he’s captained Glasgow, so he’s already had that leadership experience.”