Rugby: All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea aims for fresh start as Chiefs return from horror knee injury nears

Quinn Tupaea feels his prolonged spell on the sidelines can give him a different perspective on rugby, as he eyes his first game back in Super Rugby since 2022.  

The Chiefs midfielder missed all of last year with a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament after a nasty cleanout from Wallabies lock Darcy Swain.   

But as the 2024 season nears, the 24-year-old is back and hungry to help the Chiefs make amends for last year's final loss.  

Pre-season may not get any easier, but even the challenge of the bronco can't take the joy away from Tupaea.  

Having spent the entirety of the Chiefs season on the sidelines last year, Tupaea is just happy to be back, and brings a fresh perspective after a difficult season.

Quinn Tupaea missed Super Rugby 2023 after a ruptured ACL against the Wallabies in September 2022.
Quinn Tupaea missed Super Rugby 2023 after a ruptured ACL against the Wallabies in September 2022. Photo credit: Photosport

"[I'm] definitely more resilient now," he told Newshub. "Around my body, my rehab.  

"It's definitely helped me. [I've] made friendships along the way, and it's good to have a different perspective from the outside looking in."  

That's how Tupaea spent all of Super Rugby last year.  

The midfielder was on the receiving end of a woeful cleanout by Swain in the All Blacks' Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies in September 2022.  

Swain copped a six-week ban for the incident, not that it made last year any easier for Tupaea.  

"He messaged me a day after the injury," said Tupaea. "But at the time, I was in a pretty angry spot, so I didn't reply.  

"It was very tough to watch last year, especially how well [the Chiefs] were going.   

"Hopefully I can add a little bit on the field this year, and we can go one step better."   

And Tupaea is ready to be part of the Chiefs' comeback, after their near-perfect season was ended by the Crusaders at the final hurdle.

"I'm in a completely different spot from a year ago to now," he added. "It's good to be back out training.  

"It's a fresh start. I'm looking forward to getting back on the field." 

Motivating both Tupaea and the Chiefs this year; redemption - after falling painfully short last year.  

"It's definitely something we can use for fire," he said of 2023. "But I guess we've put it behind us, and we're focussed for the new year."   

New year, same goal - one Quinn Tupaea is eager to help the Chiefs achieve.