Paenga-Amosa's passion contagious for Wallabies: Kepu

One of the lingering images from last Saturday’s opening June Test was that of Wallabies debutant Brandon Paenga-Amosa singing the Australian anthem with gusto.

The end of a whirlwind journey from being a garbage man playing club rugby, to becoming a Wallaby, and the beginning of a new chapter as a Test player.

His passion was certainly not missed by Wallabies tighthead Sekope Kepu, who stood next to the new hooker in the lineup.

“I've got my eyes closed so I can't really what he's going on but I could hear him next to me and we just both belting it out,” he said.

“As I say to the guys coming through, if you're lucky you sing it once, if you're blessed, you get to sing it twice - after the game as well.

“It's a special moment for him and I was really, really happy and to see the photo of that passion on his face is truly him, the way he is, he's pretty relaxed and he is an awesome bloke to be playing alongside.”

As for his singing prowess, Kepu had a bit of praise for his new teammate.

“He was in tune,” he said.

"I think my wife could hear him from across the stands, which is good.

“I was really, really happy for him and so the challenge is to go again and do better than he did last week.”

Kepu has become an elder statesman in the Wallabies group, with a host of next generation props mentored by him in the team, and it’s something the 32-year-old is relishing.

“There's a lot of young guys coming through and I hate using the term young props but it makes me feel old, but, yeah, you've got a lot of good props now in Australian rugby, you've got Taniela, you've got Allan, you've got Jermaine Ainsley and guys like that,” he said.

“The competition is massive and it's an awesome thing to be able to push each other and still be great mates is something special.”

The Wallabies reserve front row was influential in Brisbane, with replacement tighthead Taniela Tupou particularly impressive, forcing a pivotal scrum penalty late in the game.

“His Super Rugby form has been top notch and scrummaging really, really well with Brandon (Paenga-Amosa),” he said.

“He was able to bring that on Saturday night and you could see the impact he can have on a game and he's got a massive, bright future ahead of him and as long as he keeps working hard, which I'm sure he will, and Brad (Thorn) will keep pushing him from the Reds, he'll do well.”