Henry Speight eligible for Wallabies from September
January 24, 2014
Speight will be available for Australia later this year © Getty Images
Brumbies wing Henry Speight will be eligible to play for Australia from September 11, the IRB has confirmed.
Calls to select Speight have intensified in recent years, with two high-scoring seasons in Super Rugby leading to many calling him one of the best wings currently playing in Australia. The IRB's decision means he will be available in time for four of Australia's Rugby Championship games, and the final Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand on October 18 in Brisbane.
An IRB panel ruled that Fijian-born Speight has still not satisfied the 36-consecutive months' residency criteria to qualify straight away for the national team. Laws dictate a player needs to spend three consecutive years in a country before being called up for international representation.
The main issue around his eligibility stemmed from his 2011 season Waikato in New Zealand's ITM Cup. Having lived in Hamilton before, Speight's stint with Waikato was seen as a homecoming of sorts despite being registered as a foreign development player from the Brumbies.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) had hoped to have Speight cleared in time for last autumn's tour to the UK, Ireland and Italy. But, due to his season in New Zealand, the IRB has issued the strictest interpretation of the law.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold