Brandon Paenga-Amosa: The No.2 no one knew who could soon be a Wallaby
A few weeks ago, not many people outside of Sydney club rugby circles knew the name Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
The 22-year old was a talented junior rugby player and was quickly becoming a dominant force in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition.
But not even Paenga-Amosa would have dreamed that the past few months could go as well as they have.
In just a few weeks, the former Southern Districts hooker has gone from being a Waratahs reject to a potential Wallabies bolter after a brilliant start to his Super Rugby career with his new club Queensland.
“I’m loving Super Rugby. It’s such an honour and a privilege to play with and against the best players in the world and it’s challenging me to become a better player,” he said.
“It’s pushing me to work harder, train harder and get all the one percenters right and I’m absolutely loving it at the moment,” he said.
Paenga-Amosa was one of Southern Districts best in their run towards the 2017 Shute Shield finals and while he spent time training in the Waratahs wider squad last year, the hooker headed to Melbourne to join the Rebels on a short term contract after failing to move up the pecking order in Sydney.
“I was in and out of the Tahs system throughout juniors and then I ended up heading down to the Rebels to join them on a short term contract.
“While I was down there, Brad Thorn gave me a call and asked if I wanted to come up to Brisbane and I said I’d love to and I took the opportunity and ran with it.
“As soon as I spoke to Brad, I jumped in my car and drove from Melbourne to Brisbane, with a quick stop in Sydney and I haven’t looked back since.”
After impressing Thorn and the Reds coaches during pre-season, Paenga-Amosa has been picked to start in the Reds first three matches in 2018 and is now a genuine shot at earning a Wallabies cap in this year’s June Test series against Ireland.
With Tatafu Polota-Nau playing in the UK, Michael Cheika will be forced to blood several young hookers in the upcoming Test series and Paenga Amosa is expected to be in consideration, even if he isn’t thinking that far ahead just yet.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to come up here but I just wanted to do my best and push myself to be as good as I can be,” he said,
“Having Alex Mafi and Andrew Ready around is great because it pushes me to be better and work harder.”
The young No.2 will face arguably his toughest test yet this weekend when the Reds take on an experienced Jaguares forward pack in Buenos Aries, after claiming their second straight win against the Bulls on Saturday night.
“We’re expecting a very physical game but it’s going to be quick as well so we’re preparing for that.
“It was much easier jumping on that long plane trip, knowing that we had two wins under our belts already. It made the trip a lot more enjoyable and even though everyone is pretty tired at the moment, I think we’ll be right by tomorrow and ready to get back into it.”
After two straight wins, the Reds sit behind the Rebels in second spot in the Australian conference and can secure their spot at the top end of the ladder with an important away with on Sunday morning (Brisbane time).
“I think we just need to stick to what we know, we don’t need to change things up, we just need to execute our game and stick to our systems. If we can do that and not overcomplicate things, I think we’ll get the victory.”