NRC: Speight on the verge of Wallabies recall

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

UC Vikings winger Henry Speight looms as the likely replacement for departed Wallabies winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, with the newest Test squad to be announced on Sunday.

Speight played his first 15s game in nearly six months last weekend, after a stint with the Australian Sevens and two injuries, impressing in the Vikings’ 58-20 win over QLD Country.

Incumbent winger Ashley-Cooper left Australia this week to return to France, after playing the opening two Bledisloe Tests, leaving a vacancy for a finisher.

Speight hasn’t played for the Wallabies since the World Cup last year, featuring against Uruguay in the pool matches.

The Wallabies will name their squad for the next two Tests against South Africa and Argentina on Sunday, with the side coming together in Brisbane on the same day.


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The 28-year-old is not the only player with Test experience who has the chance to impress in the NRC, with plenty of Wallabies released back into the competition, including teammate Allan Alaalatoa.

Alaalatoa spoke to reporters on Friday ahead of the Vikings’ clash with the NSW Country Eagles who toppled defending champions Brisbane City in the opening round.

The usual loosehead prop will be using the NRC to help grow his versatility, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika preferring to use Alaalatoa as a tighthead in his first two Tests.

“I think it just allows me to come back and get a lot more game time, especially in the new position I’m playing.

“Just to get away from that environment helps me to become refreshed and I’m looking forward to hopefully joining the boys in camp again.

Alaalatoa was one of those players who stood out in last year’s NRC campaign, kickstarting a dream year for the young prop.

“I truly believe NRC’s a good program to have where players who don’t have much Super Rugby game time have the chance to explore in a competition as good as Super Rugby,” he said.

The UC VIkings take on the NSW Country Eagles on Sunday afternoon at 3pm on Sunday, LIVE on FOXSPORTS.