Huge boost for Joe Schmidt as star returns from France to put his ‘hand up’ for Wallabies

Jared Wright
Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt and Australian hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt and Australian hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

In a welcome boost to Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies player stocks, hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa has sealed a move back to Australia.

The 14-cap international has signed a long-term contract with the Western Force and will return to Australia from French Top 14 club Montpellier in June.

Confirmation of his return comes off the back of the Force signing veteran back Kurtley Beale earlier this week.

“I’m so keen to be back in Australia”

The 28-year-old hooker has spent the past three seasons with Montpellier, playing 56 games and scoring eight tries in the Top 14 and Champions Cup, winning the former with the club in 2022.

Paenga-Amosa also spent four years with the Queensland-based Reds from 2018 to 2021, earning 56 Super Rugby caps and scoring 14 tries.

“I’m so keen to be back in Australia, it’s home,” Paenga-Amosa said. “I’m really excited to be a part of the Force set-up, especially working with Crono and the lads that are there.

“Returning to Australia and putting my hand up for the Wallabies again was a big attraction after three seasons in France with Montpellier.

“I’m big on culture both on and off the field, so adding to the culture that is already being established is one of the key focus points for me.”

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Adding depth

Paenga-Amosa last featured for the Wallabies during the 2021 Rugby Championship and could return to the Test set up for the upcoming internationals against Wales and Georgia.

Dave Porecki was the first-choice hooker under ex-Wallabies boss Eddie Jones last year, with Matt Faessler and Jordan Uelese the other two selected in his World Cup squad.

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Western Force general manager of rugby Matt Hodgson added: “We’re delighted to have Brandon commit to the Force on a long-term basis.

“We are committed to building squad depth in all positions and Brandon adds to our hooker options. He brings quality, pedigree and experience domestically and internationally, so he’ll add plenty to the group.

“We know Brandon is excited by the Force project that we’re building and he’s very motivated to get back into the Wallabies set-up with a view to next year’s British and Irish Lions tour and the 2027 World Cup in Australia.”

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