New Reds signing Henry Speight at Ballymore. Picture: Brendan Hertel.
New Reds signing Henry Speight at Ballymore. Picture: Brendan Hertel.

New Red Speight enjoying fresh surrounds

AUSTRALIAN rugby's biggest afro has landed at Ballymore with Henry Speight determined to live up to the surprise discovery he is the team elder at just 31.

In nine seasons at the Brumbies, he had always happily gone about his work with the likes of Christian Lealiifano, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander, Scott Fardy and David Pocock as the senior citizens.

The 19-Test Wallaby was instantly struck by the new scenery at Ballymore when the wing signing joined pre-season training this week.

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"Being at one club for a long time can be a double-edged sword...I loved the Brumbies and the way Canberra took me in but it can also become a comfort zone," Speight said.

"It was refreshing starting at the Reds this week with the youth and talent everywhere and the first-day-at-school feeling with a few nerves.

"'Oldest' sounds a bit weird and I'll be pushed as I hope to push the young backs.

"I really enjoyed engaging with local clubs and schools in Canberra and I hope I can set an example in that area at the Reds."

Henry Speight in full flight for the Brumbies. Picture: Getty Images
Henry Speight in full flight for the Brumbies. Picture: Getty Images

Joining his new club for the three-day Reds-to-Regions initiative last week took him to schools and clinics in Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone.

"It was the first time I'd been billeted since school days and I loved it because it felt like the old times in Fiji because I even went on a family pick-up after school," Speight said.

Speight's family links to Brisbane, including his 88-year-old grandfather Sam, are a major reason behind his move now he and partner Louise are first-time parents of baby Josefa.