Speight to find voice in Wallabies backline

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies winger Henry Speight is in the midst of a near career-best season, but he says he and the Test side aren’t satisfied with a win over Fiji.

In a tight contest for edge spots, Speight’s form put him ahead of his rivals, but the Brumbies winger wants to keep improving, along with the rest of the backline.

“There's still things we can work on, a few teething errors on the weekend, which is normal,” he said.

“The positive is we've got another week to rectify that and another week to gel. So, that's going to be good.

“There's a lot of competition within the back line and that'll only bring the best out of us.”

Leadership is one space Speight has struggled with, a naturally quieter personality, now keen to try and use his voice more.

“(I’m) usually a bit quiet and shy in recent years coming into the environment, so just trying to be more vocal and demand the ball a bit more,” he said.

“It is (difficult) when there's thousands in the crowd drowning your voice out.

“So, finding a way to try and rise above that with my voice is my work on, so that's going to be something I'll have to keep at.”

Though he’s not happy with that one outing, Speight and the Wallabies backline will take some imposing performances into a clash with a building Scotland, who know all too well their potency.

Cross-field kicks to Israel Folau paid off for the Wallabies against Fiji and it’s a tactic that hasn’t passed Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor by.

“I thought they used Israel Folau really well, kicking and isolating the Fijian wingers, so we're probably expecting the same again,” he said.

“We'll need to be doing our high ball watching and trying to protect our guys as best we can.”

Scotland’s outside backs have been the most affected by Lions selection, with winger Tommy Seymour and fullback Stuart Hogg in New Zealand, along with captain Greig Laidlaw.

Israel Folau is dangerous under the high ball. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyTaylor said they’d be looking to make sure Folau doesn’t have the same opportunities against their edge players on Saturday, backing their new faces to step up after a 34-13 win over Italy

“The advantage that we've had is we've had two, two-and-a-half weeks of really good training leading into this game,” he said.

“Two years out, before the World Cup it's really important that we give guys opportunity.

"It's probably a bit like the Wallabies have done, looking at younger guys and giving guys opportunity to see what they've got and what they're all about before leading into the World Cup.

“It's going to be tough because I think the Wallabies backs are probably one of the best backs running around in World Rugby so it's going to be a tough task to stop them.”

The Wallabies take on Scotland in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.