Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu says he won’t need any extra motivation for Sunday night’s World Cup opening weekend clash against South Africa beyond knowing that his mother – Angelina – will be in the crowd watching him in person for the first time since he left Australia to play rugby in Japan in 2019.

"I had a chat with her yesterday when she got to Paris, and it was an emotional phone call because she always calls me from back home and would wake up and watch our games,” revealed the 26-year-old, who had to pause mid-sentence to compose himself. 

"She just said how proud she was. My mum is part of my Scottish heritage and very proud when she sees me during the anthems with the background of Murrayfield and the noise. I can’t imagine how she will feel this weekend playing the world champions.

"I’m trying not to think too much about it before the game because I know it will emotionally drain me, but I won’t lack any motivation with my mum being in the crowd.

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"I’ll catch up with her on Friday night. It’s her birthday on Saturday so it feels very strange, it all lining up like this, but I also feel it’s meant to happen. I’ll celebrate her birthday on the Saturday and hopefully she has a good Sunday as well.
“After the game, if we can get it done, just to share that moment with her the day after her birthday would be something I can look back on in my life and appreciate.

“Not just that journey but her journey as well. Everyone has their rugby journey in terms of where they came from. This is my mum’s journey and only I know what she has been through to get to this point .

"Her story is something I have always thought about in my rugby and it all comes together this weekend. She last watched me when I was in Melbourne playing for the rebels. She was always there, like my dad who has been across to Scotland to watch me play which is cool. It is a bit special because it is my mum and I am emotional about it.”

While Tuipulotu’s father, Fohe, has been to Murrayfield a few times to watch him play, his son isn’t completely convinced about whether the old man will be backing Scotland or favouring his Tongan roots when the two sides meet in Nice on the 24th September.
“I’ve asked my littlest brother, Ottavio, to keep an eye on him just to see if he’s got the red jersey on when we play them ,” he joked.