SPORTS

Speight Hopes Australia Takes Test To Fiji

Wallabies winger Henry Speight is in the country carrying boots, balls and clothes, but the speedster says the ultimate gift will be shifting a Test here. Speight, ACT Brumbies teammate
19 Sep 2017 11:00
Speight Hopes Australia Takes Test To Fiji
Henry Speight (second from left) with children at Churchill Park, Lautoka on September 18, 2017. Photo: Karalaini Tavi

Wallabies winger Henry Speight is in the country carrying boots, balls and clothes, but the speedster says the ultimate gift will be shifting a Test here.

Speight, ACT Brumbies teammate Tevita Kuridrani and the Classic Wallabies were with children at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday as part of the ARU’s Pacific in Union programme to develop the sport in the region.

Speight hopes it is another step towards the Wallabies playing a game in Fiji in the coming years and believes it will help bridge the gap between tier one and tier-two nations.

The Fijians have joined the National Rugby Championship this year and it is hoped the competition could be a stepping stone to creating a Pacific Islands team for Super Rugby in the coming years.

There were four players with Fijian heritage in the Wallabies squad to play against Argentina in Canberra on Saturday night, including NRL convert Marika Koroibete.

“We’ve played Fiji in Australia earlier this year and personally I would love us to take a Test over to Fiji,” Speight told Sydney Morning Herald.

“People would come out in full force and pack out the stadium, especially with the amount of Fiji players in the Wallabies team over the past three years.

“There is a massive following from back home, so to be able to take a Test back some time would be a dream come true … I can’t really put it into words.

“But if we can’t take a Test there any time soon, this is the next best thing and I can’t wait to see the smiles on faces.”

The Classic Wallabies trip has been partly funding by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as the ARU looks to build on a pacific-region programme it start five years ago.

Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea will join Speight and Kuridrani, while Stephen Hoiles will lead the Classic Wallabies contingent to work with schools and host coaching clinics.

The Classics, which will boast Lote Tuqiri, Radike Samo, Morgan Turinui, Pat Phibbs and Mark Chisholm, will play against a Fijian side led by Waisale Serevi as an NRC curtain-raiser on Saturday.

The best part for Fijian-born Speight and Kuridrani is the pair will get to visit their villages, Lautoka and Namatakula, for family time and kava sessions.

“This is a chance to give back and that’s what is so special about it,” Speight said.

“We can take back some knowledge to feedback to players and coaches and Fiji. It probably won’t be long enough for us, but it’s better than nothing.

“It will be special to take the group to our villages and see where we come from. It will be pretty humbling, I will get to visit my mum and my village, so it will be fulfilling as well.”

Today’s  Programme

The Classic Wallabies will be at Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka from 1pm to 2.30pm where they’ll conduct a coaching clinic.

Edited by Grace Narayan

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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