Brandon Paenga-Amosa ready for Irish test.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa ready for Irish test.

Reds rookie happy between two rocks

TEST hooker-elect Brandon Paenga-Amosa will lean on 91-Test rock Sekope Kepu as his scrum minder when the Irish try to target the newest Wallaby on Saturday night.

Everything in camp points to coach Michael Cheika rewarding form and set-piece strength by starting the Queensland Reds' rookie for a titanic Test of composure at Suncorp Stadium.

Giving Paenga-Amosa the comfort of packing with the squad's most seasoned props, Kepu and Scott Sio (43 Tests), is a critical part of the puzzle.

Irish scrum coach Greg Feek, the former All Black, cooed that the Wallabies pack would be "game-ready and a solid platform" before heading off to continue plans to belt them.

Cheika has given little away in his debate of contentious Wallabies positions but he may have inked Paenga-Amosa's name for this Test five weeks ago.

"Brandon's gone up against Malcolm Marx and performed right at that level," Cheika said of the rookie's Reds scrum dominating the standout Springboks' hooker for the Lions in April.

Kepu has picked up the tag "Uncle" from young prop protege Taniela Tupou and other squad-mates sizing up his age at 32.

Brandon Paenga-Amosa has been rewarded for a strong season.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa has been rewarded for a strong season.

Kepu knows what's coming and how ready the Wallabies pack must be against 126kg Irish tighthead Tadhg Furlong and co.

"Yeah, they'll be coming at us with a great pack in general but, like any Test, that's the only way forward just as it is our goal against them," Kepu said.

"Every one of our young hookers (Paenga-Amosa and uncapped Folau Fainga'a) has been playing good Super Rugby and I'm sure they'll rise to the occasion.

"It's a massive challenge against the Six Nations champions but they'll have experienced guys around them to help."

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