Henry Speight signs Australian Rugby Union deal to play sevens

Wallabies winger Henry Speight will juggle Super Rugby and sevens commitments next year after signing a landmark three-year extension with the Australian Rugby Union.

The Brumbies player, who is clear to return from suspension for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in Sydney on 9 August, is allowed to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics in August under the new contract, should they qualify.

Speight has a background playing sevens in his native Fiji and is looking forward to playing the abbreviated form of the game again.

“To have this opportunity come up for next year is something that I wanted to do to be part of something really special,” said Speight who signed until the end of the 2018 season. “It’s a unique opportunity and it doesn’t come around too often.”

Under the terms of the deal, Speight will be available for the inaugural Sydney Sevens at Allianz Stadium on 6 and 7 February and also the Hong Kong and London legs of the World Rugby Sevens series in April and May respectively.

Speight would return to the Brumbies following the Olympics and be available for the remainder of the Rugby Championship before returning to full-time duties with the Canberra-based Super Rugby team.

ARU general manager Rob Clarke said they were in negotiations to further bolster the sevens squad with capped Wallabies. Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau are all in the frame to join the program.

“We have a few other discussions well under way. We’re obviously not looking to replace the entire sevens squad,” Clarke said. “We’ve got a fantastic sevens squad and the nucleus is very strong, but we do believe there are two or three opportunities to enhance that squad.”