Speight Focuses On Wallabies Dream

Fijian-born Speight’s five siblings were reunited for the first time in seven years on the weekend, with Davila and Jerry allowed into the country just days after Speight became eligible
17 Sep 2014 08:19
Speight Focuses On Wallabies Dream
SODELPA MP's, (from left) Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Peceli Vosanibola and Simione Rasova outside Court on 22, October 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fijian-born Speight’s five siblings were reunited for the first time in seven years on the weekend, with Davila and Jerry allowed into the country just days after Speight became eligible to play for Australia.

Speight said there were tears from every family member when Davila and Jerry arrived, and it was the perfect tonic for the hamstring injury which has stalled Speight’s Test aspirations.

Speight’s four-year wait to play for Australia will be put on hold for at least another month while he recovers from the hamstring strain.

A beaming Speight said he could now focus solely on his performance rather than his eligibility and his family’s visa requests.

The government had rejected two previous visa requests for Speight’s siblings after they were deemed a risk of seeking asylum in Australia.

But after one last application with supporting letters from Speight and the Brumbies, the government granted Davila and Jerry temporary visitor status with multiple visits and Speight plans to have all his siblings in the crowd if he makes his debut in the Bledisloe Cup match at Suncorp Stadium on October 17.

“I can’t describe how happy I am. It is the best feeling in the world, to have everyone together again for the first time in so long was just amazing,” Speight said.

“I will channel all of my energy into playing now. I don’t have to worry if I am eligible [to play for the Wallabies] and I know my family can come out.

“I will give everything I’ve got if I get the chance to play and the aim is to be ready to play against New Zealand in Brisbane next month, what better occasion could you ask for?”

Wallaby-in-waiting Speight became eligible to play for the Wallabies last week, after a four-year saga with the IRB. Speight moved to Canberra in 2010 and has been stuck in an international limbo since.

Speight was devastated when the government rejected his siblings’ visa applications, compounding his frustration at being unable to play for Australia.

Davila and Jerry were banned from Australia because the Department of Immigration feared they would overstay their visit, but Speight has assured officials they will return to Fiji.

Speight’s uncle is George Speight, the Fijian coup leader serving life in prison, and his grandfather is former Fiji president Josefa Iloilo.

It made the family kava session even more special when Speight, Davila, Jerry, Lucy and Sam were under the same roof for the first time in almost a decade last weekend.

Speight was on track to make his Wallabies debut against Argentina on the Gold Coast last week, but a niggling hamstring problem has ruled him out of the Wallabies’ next two Tests.

The 26-year-old was devastated when told the injury would delay his international career.

Speight spent time in Melbourne soup kitchens and missions to stay grounded as he reloaded for a charge to the Wallabies team.

“That really made me realise that a few weeks out isn’t anything, it was a humbling experience,” Speight said.

“I grabbed a mattress and slept on the floor and I was there for a few days.

“It put things in perspective for me. I’m out for a few weeks but others are going through harder things than I am and then there’s also [retired Wallaby] Pat McCabe. I’m just happy I will get my chance to play.”

Speight will be left out of the Wallabies squad to play Tests in South Africa and Argentina in the next two weeks.





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