Speight signs with Reds until 2021

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

The Reds have landed the signature of Wallaby Henry Speight until 2021, staving off interest from overseas to land the Test flyer.

Speight knocked back big-money offers from overseas last year to remain with Rugby Australia and the Brumbies but was expected to head offshore following the World Cup.

But the Reds have scored a coup with his signature, the affable winger the perfect replacement for the departing Sefa Naivalu.

And with captain Samu Kerevi's future still undecided, news of Speight's arrival is a fillip for Reds fans.

Henry Speight will be a great addition to a young Reds backline. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley 

The Reds have outstanding depth in the forwards, with an exciting crop of players developing into seasoned Super Rugby and Test players.

But the same can't be said for the backline, with Naivalu and possibly Kerevi leaving and their next wave of players still developing.

Speight, who is expecting his first child with partner Louise, is understood to have informed his Brumbies teammates of his plans in Tokyo where they are preparing to play the Sunwolves. 

“Whilst focused on the Brumbies for this season, I am delighted to be joining the Reds and I can’t wait to meet both the team and the fans,” Speight said.

“It’s an exciting time in my life with Louise and I expecting our first child and the opportunity to be around family is something we look forward to.

 

“I believe Australian Rugby has a great future and I couldn’t be happier to stay here and pursue my goals in Australian Rugby with the Reds.”

Reds head coach Brad Thorn will welcome Speight with open arms.

“We’re pleased to have Henry here at Queensland. He is a good footballer and a great guy," Thorn said.

“He has performed a great service at the Brumbies. He was well respected and liked down there. He will add a lot to this group on, and equally off the field."

Sefa Naivalu (right) and Samu Kerevi will unite in the centres for the Reds against the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images

After playing four seasons with Waikato in New Zealand’s ITM Cup, Speight made his Super Rugby debut in 2011 with the Brumbies and went on to become the first Fijian-born player to reach 100 Super Rugby caps.

He was the Australian conference’s leading try-scorer in 2012 and 2013 and currently boasts 225 points (45 tries) from 118 matches during his time in Canberra.

The 31-year-old has 19 Wallabies caps after making his Australian debut against Ireland during the 2014 Spring Tour and played in the Rugby World Cup the following year.