Rugby Championship: Uncapped Henry Speight named in Australia squad
Last Updated: 23/07/14 9:10am
Henry Speight has been named in Australia’s 32-man squad for the forthcoming Rugby Championship – even though the Fijian-born winger is ineligible for half of their fixtures.
The 25-year-old, who plays for ACT Brumbies, does not qualify to represent Australia on residential grounds until September 11.
By that stage the Wallabies will have contested three of their six matches – including two against New Zealand.
However, Speight is seen as a long-term prospect for Ewen McKenzie’s squad that includes 25 players who earned at least one Test cap during the recent 3-0 series win over France.
Michael Hooper has been named captain of Australia, who are currently on a seven-match winning streak, while Speight is the only uncapped member of the group.
Among those unavailable due to injuries are Stephen Moore, David Pocock, Will Genia and Quade Cooper.
Coach McKenzie said: "We've come a long way as a group over the past 12 months and the consistency we're now applying across selections, high-performance behaviours and our playing style is a positive sign that we are heading in the right direction.
"The challenge for us now is to continue this consistency. But we've named a 32-man squad so not everybody will get on the park."
As for Speight, he added: "He's been in good form and he's going to become eligible. He was involved in the squad in June informally and this just recognises where he is.
"There's no reason why he can't be involved in the preparations and learn a bit more about what we're about."
Props: Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Pek Cowan (Western Force), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Reds).
Hookers: Nathan Charles (Western Force), James Hanson (Reds), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs).
Locks: Sam Carter (Brumbies), James Horwill (Reds), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs).
Back-rowers: Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Matt Hodgson (Western Force), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Wycliff Palu (Waratahs).
Scrum-halves: Luke Burgess (Rebels), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), Nic White (Brumbies) .
Fly-halves: Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs).
Centres: Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Leali'ifano (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies).
Back-three: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Henry Speight (Brumbies), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Rob Horne (Waratahs), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Joe Tomane (Brumbies).