Speight to make Oz debut

2014-11-20 07:54
Henry Speight (Gallo Images)

Dublin - Fijian-born winger Henry Speight will make his Test debut for Australia in one of four team changes made on Thursday for this weekend's Test against Ireland in Dublin.

Speight will become the third player to make his debut for Australia on this month's European tour, joining Sean McMahon and Tetera Faulkner.

The 26-year-old has been knocking on the door for Test selection after some exciting attacking displays for the ACT Brumbies in this year's Super 15 season.

"Henry has done all the right things to earn his selection, has had an outstanding Super Rugby season and deserves his opportunity to play for Australia," coach Michael Cheika said.

"He is very passionate about representing Australia and we're all looking forward to seeing him bring his best attributes to our game."

In other changes made by Cheika following last week's 29-26 loss to France in Paris, lock Sam Carter, back-row Luke Jones and centre Matt Toomua come into the starting XV.

Jones, of the Melbourne Rebels, gets his first run-on opportunity for the Wallabies in his second Test match following his debut against France in Melbourne in June.

He displaces McMahon at blindside flanker, while Carter replaces James Horwill and Toomua takes over from his ACT Brumbies teammate Christian Leali'ifano.

"The other changes have been made to give the other players who have been knocking on the door an opportunity to start a Test match on this tour," Cheika said.

"All our changes will bring a new energy into the team and I know everyone is looking forward to the opportunities our match against Ireland will bring."

Cheika later confirmed his replacements which could see "bad boy" utility back Kurtley Beale play his first international rugby since the texting scandal that saw him fined and resulted in the target of his text message, business manager Di Patston, leaving and Cheika's predecessor Ewen McKenzie resigning.

Beale, who was also punished for being rude and disrespectful to the team management, has not played for Australia since the defeat in Cape Town by South Africa on September 27.

The match is Australia's fourth of their five-game European tour which, prior to the French match, had seen them beat the Barbarians and Wales. They round off the series against England at Twickenham next weekend.



15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Luke Jones, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes (three to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Benn Robinson, 19 Ben Alexander, 20 James Horwill, 21 Will Skelton 22 Jake Schatz, 23 Will Genia, 24 Quade Cooper, 25 Rob Horne, 26 Kurtley Beale

Read more on:    wallabies  |  rugby

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