Speight ready to tackle Sydney 7s

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Henry Speight is one player who knows the massive task new Sevens recruit Quade Cooper faces.

It was just three months ago that Speight was in the same shoes as he looked to secure a spot in the Australian Men’s Sevens team.

Speight is preparing to tackle just his second Sevens World Series tournament in Sydney later this week, having debuted in Dubai.

“I was busting my lungs after my first session after the World Cup.” he said.

“It was a massive learning curve for myself. It was good to learn off the experienced boys and pick their brain, along with the management.”

Speight believes his Wallabies teammate a good chance to crack the highest level in the near future.

“He’s got a very special skill-set, that’s very suited to Sevens,” he said.

“His long passing game and unpredictability and if he does play he will bring a new dimension to our attacking game.”

Despite arriving in Sydney at 6:30am on Wednesday morning, Cooper opted to hit the training track for what could be his only full session with the squad ahead of the tournament, a move that Speight said took some of the team by surprise.

“A lot of the boys didn’t expect him to run, but he really threw himself out there,” he said.

“ It just shows the character of a man running the first few laps with a protein bar in his hand.”

Cooper wasn’t the only new face at the session, with new head coach Andy Friend part of his first Sydney training session.

Speight has plenty to thank Friend for, with the former Brumbies mentor the coach who handed him his first Super Rugby chance.

“He gave me my first contract, he’s the reason I came to Australia,” he said

“He’s had his input at training and the boys have responded to that.

“He’s going to lead this charge to Rio and we’re going to back him 100%.”

And Speight has plenty of support from Friend as well, with the coach voicing his confidence in Speight’s Sevens ability on Wednesday.

“I’ve known Henry from the Brumbies days, he’s here and he’s fully committed to the program, which is fantastic and I think he’s going to be a special player for us,” he said.

“He’s Fijian, that’s the first thing. He’s got speed, he’s got power (and) he’s Fijian, so he understands that sort of a game.”

The Australian Men’s Sevens kick off their Sydney Sevens campaign against Portugal at 1:34pm AEDT on Saturday. Catch the tournament LIVE on FOX SPORTS.