Rookie Aust hooker to get Irish acid-test

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

Not that long ago, one was a garbologist and the other a concreter, but now Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Folau Fainga'a are poised to be unveiled as Wallabies hookers.

The two unheralded rakes are in line to complete amazing rises from club players to Test forwards on Saturday night by turning out for Australia against Ireland.

Coach Michael Cheika will Thursday name his first Wallabies team of 2018 with at least one, but quite possibly both, of Paenga-Amosa and Fainga'a to pack down against the Six Nations champions at Suncorp Stadium.

Each have emerged after turning heads in the National Rugby Championship late last season to gain Super Rugby contracts.

Paenga-Amosa, a former rubbish man who also studied theology, has starred for the Queensland Reds and is tipped to win the No.2 jersey to start ahead concreter-turned-Brumby Fainga'a.

Before last year's NRC they weren't even on Cheika's radar but their form and the retirement of Stephen Moore, the resting of Tatafu Polota-Nau and injury to Rebels rake Jordan Uelese has propelled them into the Test squad.

Only a last minute change of heart from Cheika, who could still elect to play late squad addition Tolu Latu, will deny them remarkable debuts together.

While at least one rookie hooker will face an acid-test against the powerful Irish scrum and lineout, there's more questions surrounding the rest of the Australian pack.

The biggest mystery to be revealed at Thursday's team announcement is who will partner Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the back row.

Queensland second-rower Lukhan Tui could even be a left-field starter ahead of Reds teammate Caleb Timu and Crusader Pete Samu to shore up the lineout.

Adam Coleman is set for one lock spot while Cheika has to choose between Izack Rodda and Rob Simmons for the other.

Australia's back line is far more settled with Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau assured their positions, while Rebels Marika Koroibete and Reece Hodge are expected on the wings.

But boom Waratah Curtis Rona has made for an interesting call at outside centre, challenging favourite Samu Kerevi and incumbent Tevita Kuridrani.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will also name his first Test team on Thursday, missing veteran hooker Rory Best to injury.