It's been a dream ride so far in Super Rugby for Brandon Paenga-Amosa, but the wild-haired Queensland Reds rookie is bracing for his biggest test yet in Argentina this weekend.
Hooker Paenga-Amosa has been one of the cornerstones of a pack that has conquered the Brumbies and the Bulls in successive weeks - traditionally two of the competition's strongest set-piece sides.
The 22-year-old only has a contract with the Reds because of Stephen Moore's decision to retire a year early, which put in train a series of events that still has him pinching himself.
Paenga-Amosa was born in Auckland but grew up in Sydney as an avid All Blacks fan and idolised Brad Thorn.
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He was part of the Melbourne Rebels' wider training squad when Thorn phoned him out of the blue and asked him if he wanted to move to Brisbane.
"I was stoked. I was kind of star struck, having this idol of mine call me," Paenga-Amosa said.
"As soon as I spoke to Brad Thorn I jumped straight into the car and drove from Melbourne to Brisbane.
"I stopped off at Sydney on the way, saw the family ... I never looked back.
"I took the opportunity and I ran with it. Here I am today."
Paenga-Amosa said he was always falling "in and out" of the NSW Waratahs system during his formative years in Sydney, where he lived down the road from Belmore Stadium and studied at Endeavour Sports High, the same school as Israel Folau.
But it was his performances in the NRC last season for the NSW Country Eagles, and in particular his match against Thorn's Queensland Country side, that put him on the dual-code great's radar.
Paenga-Amosa has started every match this season for the Reds, ahead of the highly-rated Alex Mafi and one-time Wallaby tourist Andrew Ready.
Both he and the team will face a difficult challenge on Sunday morning (NZT) in the form of the Jaguares to kick off their first international tour under Thorn.
The Mario Ledesma-coached side tore the NSW Waratahs to shreds at the weekend, both up front and out wide in a 38-28 win that was much more comprehensive than the final scoreboard suggested.
But Paenga-Amosa says the Reds are eager for another physical clash.
"The spirits are up. It's much better going on a long plane trip and jumping on tour with two wins under our belt," he said.