Wallabies flyer bucks Brumbies for Reds
SLICK Wallabies winger Henry Speight is making a surprise switch from the Brumbies to bring his 45-try edge to the Queensland Reds next season.
Speight, 31, has signed a two-year deal to move to Brisbane with pregnant wife Louise, who has family in southeast Queensland.
It's a strong signing for the Reds because Speight's zest to roam for work off his wing has been a trademark during his decorated 119-game run at the Brumbies.
He will be an ideal replacement for Sefa Naivalu, who is heading to French club Stade Francais after the final three games of the Reds' season.
The popular Speight relayed the shock news to his Brumbies teammates in Tokyo ahead of Friday night's clash against the Sunwolves.
"Whilst focused on the Brumbies for this season, I am delighted to be joining the Reds," Speight said.
"It's an exciting time in my life with Louise and I expecting our first child and the opportunity to be around family is something we look forward to."
Speight reflected on his time at the famous club, while coach Dan McKellar called the winger a "Brumbies legend".
"I will be forever grateful for the Brumbies for giving me the chance to play Super Rugby at a club with an unbelievable culture and strong history," Speight said.
"The Canberra Community as well has been fantastic to me and has given me so many memories inside and outside of rugby. The Gungahlin Eagles, Lifeline Canberra and the Fijian community here in Canberra are just a few examples of what has made my career with the Brumbies so special.
"Whilst I have many memories of amazing away victories, there is nothing better than playing for the Brumbies in a win at GIO Stadium. The Brumbies fans will always hold a special place in my heart."
The Reds have made another significant switch at the steering wheel with Kiwi Matt McGahan installed at flyhalf to play the Jaguares at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Bryce Hegarty will move to fullback while the return of skipper Samu Kerevi and Chris Feauai-Sautia in the centres adds considerable thrust.
"We had a guy (McGahan) who was traditionally a No.10 playing fullback and Bryce, who came to the Reds to play fullback, at No.10," Reds assistant coach Peter Ryan said.
"The natural progression was we swap them over and we keep two strong voices on the field for the backline."
Ryan said the pick-and-drive fest that came up short against the Chiefs in Hamilton last Friday would not be repeated.
"We have big strengths in the forwards but you do too much of that (pick-and-drive) and it becomes a benign exercise so, yes, there'll be a different game plan this week."
Kerevi is back from his game off under the Wallabies' workload management plan which has stripped Test lock Izack Rodda from the side for this weekend.
QUEENSLAND REDS: Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (c), Filipo Daugunu, Matt McGahan, Tate McDermott, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith. Reserves: Alex Mafi, Ruan Smith, Gav Luka, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Scott Malolua, Duncan Paia'aua, Hamish Stewart.