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Rugby-Australia hooker Uelese says phone theft brought squad closer – Agricultural Commodities

JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) – Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese says the theft of team mate Taniela Tupou’s telephone in South Africa will not change their opinion of the country and the incident has brought them closer ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against the Springboks.

Prop Tupou had his mobile snatched out of his hand outside the team hotel in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton district on Saturday evening.

Tupou suffered minor cuts in the incident after chasing the thief, who jumped in a car and got away.

Uelese, who was out with Tupou as the squad’s front rowers returned to their hotel after a team dinner, played down the incident but said they would be more vigilant about safety.

“Crime happens everywhere, I’m not going to let a little minority of crime-makers tarnish our thoughts on people here in South Africa,” Uelese said in comments published on Rugby Australia’s website (rugby.com.au)

“I think that little theft happens everywhere in the world and I don’t think that should change the way we think about South Africans in general — they’re great people and I think we’ll continue to think of them that way.

“When you’ve got eight 120-plus kilo players you’re pretty good. We feel pretty safe being together there,” he said of team safety.

“It just goes to show anything can happen anywhere so that has definitely brought us closer together as a group and definitely looking out for each other’s backs.”

Uelese, who is back in the squad after a long struggle with a knee injury, said he and his front row team mates had dissuaded the bulky Tupou from giving chase to the car as it pulled away with his phone.

He joked that Tupou could probably do with less screen time anyway.

“He’s a guy who loves to play on his phone but it was probably good for him to have a break from it anyway, so good,” added Uelese.

The Wallabies take on the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford



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