Timu, Paenga-Amosa handed Test debuts in Brisbane

by Sam Phillips

Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu have been handed dream Test debuts, named in the Wallabies' starting XV to face Ireland on Saturday.

The Reds pair have been named at hooker and No. 8, respectively, with Pete Samu also set to make his debut from the bench.

Timu's inclusion pushes David Pocock to blindside flanker, with captain Michael Hooper to start at openside.

Coach Michael Cheika said the debutant would bring a strong ball carrying emphasis to the Australian attack, a facet which the Wallabies need with both Pocock and Hooper putting plenty of energy into other parts of the team's game.Caleb Timu will bring strong ball carrying to the Wallabies pack. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I think Caleb has had a great season, to be honest," Cheika said.

"I think his carrying game has been outstanding and if you look at the way our back row is set up, the other two boys aren't the hugest of carriers.

"Even just now as he's come back from injury - he jumped into that game against NSW and made an impact straight away.

"I think that's what you want to see from players."

Izack Rodda will pack down alongside Adam Coleman in the second row, with Sekope Kepu earning the nod over Taniela Tupou at tighthead prop.Brandon Paenga-Amosa will start on Saturday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyWill Genia and Bernard Foley will resume their halves partnership but there is otherwise a new look to the backline, with Samu Kerevi and Dane Haylett-Petty named at outside centre and left wing, respectively.

Haylett-Petty's start is his first in close to nine months, after a biceps injury ended his 2017 season midway through the Rugby Championship, while Kerevi will start at 13 for the first time since last year's Test against Japan.

Kerevi's shift to outside centre squeezes Tevita Kuridrani out of the 23 altogether, with utility Reece Hodge pushed back to the bench as Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete earn first crack on the wings.

"Winning these games is about 80 minutes and guys like (Hodge), Simmons, Nick Phipps, they've all been in good form and Tupou, Alaalatoa, they've been in great form.

"We're going to need 80 minutes and that's a big theme for us this year - consistency.

"I'm looking at consistency across the board and I'm looking at the finishers to finish."

Late squad inclusion, Tolu Latu, has done enough to earn a spot as cover for Paenga-Amosa on the bench, while Lukhan Tui, Rob Simmons and Samu have all been named as part of a 6-2 split on the pine.

The Wallabies face Ireland in the first of three Tests on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio. Buy tickets here.


Wallabies team to face Ireland

1. Scott Sio (43 Tests)

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa*

3. Sekope Kepu (91 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (4 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (20 Tests)

6. David Pocock (66 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (79 Tests)

8. Caleb Timu*

9. Will Genia (88 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (55 Tests)

11. Dane Haylett-Petty (18 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (71 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (18 Tests)

14. Marika Koroibete (8 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (62 Tests)


16. Tolu Latu (4 Tests)

17. Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests)

18. Taniela Tupou (1 Test)

19. Rob Simmons (82 Tests)

20. Lukhan Tui (4 Tests)

21. Pete Samu*

22. Nick Phipps (61 Tests)

23. Reece Hodge (24 Tests)

*denotes uncapped