Former garbo to make shock Wallabies debut

Jim Morton
Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa (L) has been selected for a stunning Wallabies debut against Ireland

Former garbo and theologist Brandon Paenga-Amosa will cap a stunning rugby rise by packing down as Wallabies hooker against Ireland.

Paenga-Amosa, who had been playing 12 months ago for Sydney club Southern Districts, is among three forwards to make their Test debuts against the Six Nations champions on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

The 22-year-old will be joined by Queensland Reds teammate Caleb Timu in Australia's pack, while New Zealand-based Pete Samu is also poised to gain his first cap off the bench.

The Wallabies have named an otherwise settled starting 15 that boasts 623 Test caps between them, and includes both warrior flankers Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the back row.

Rampaging Brisbane NRL convert Timu has beaten Samu and Lukhan Tui for the No.8 jersey to partner skipper Hooper and renowned ball pilferer Pocock.

But it's the Kiwi-born Paenga-Amosa who enjoys the most-remarkable propulsion into the Test arena for Australia's first encounter of 2018.

The hooker worked as a Sydney rubbish man, studied theology and was a youth worker at Hillsong College before getting his Super Rugby chance on the back of a storming National Rugby Championship last spring for the Western Sydney Rams.

A boom debut season for the Reds has him lining up beside 91-Test veteran Sekope Kepu and Scott Sio in the Wallabies' front row, while 11th-hour squad addition Tolu Latu has beaten Folau Fianga'a as his cover on the bench.

Samu Kerevi's form for Queensland has also earned him the contentious No.13 jersey, unseating incumbent Tevita Kuridrani and holding off Waratah Curtis Rona.

Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty have been preferred to Rebels teammate Reece Hodge on the wings, but Mr Fix-It Hodge's versatility has allowed coach Michael Cheika to name a forwards-heavy 6-2 bench.

Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa will revert to loosehead on the bench to allow room for Reds tighthead Taniela Tupou to play just his second Test.

World No.2-ranked Ireland, due to name their side at 4:00pm, have won three of the past four Tests between the two sides but Australia have not been beaten by them for 39 years on home soil.


Israel Folau, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Caleb Timu, Michael Hooper (capt), David Pocock, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Scott Sio.

Res: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Tui, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Reece Hodge.