Australian international blessed with 'X Factor quality' signs for Ulster

Australian international Henry Speight
Australian international Henry Speight

Ulster Rugby has confirmed the signing of Australia international Henry Speight on a short-term contract.

The back is set to move to Kingspan Stadium later this month in a similar deal to that which saw fellow Brumbies player Christian Lealiifano arrive in Belfast last season.

Speight is expected return to Australia on December 31, in advance of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

Fijian-born, the 30-year-old has represented the Wallabies 19 times and has played over 100 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent a big club like Ulster. I’ve spoken to Christian (Lealiifano) a lot regarding this move and he had only great things to say about the staff, players, supporters and wider community, which welcomed him with open arms," Speight told Ulster's official website.

“This is a fresh challenge for me and I hope to embrace it by relishing every moment and by adding value to the group as best I can. I can’t wait to arrive in Belfast and get to work with my new teammates.”

Bryn Cunningham, Ulster’s Operations Director, added: “With the nature of Henry’s current contractual position, I would like to thank his local agent, the Brumbies and the ARU for facilitating getting this deal across the line.”

“Henry has X factor quality and has consistently proven himself as a top performer at both Super Rugby and International level, with his most recent displays for the Brumbies being eye-catching. We hope he will quickly become be a real fans’ favourite at Kingspan Stadium!

“Henry will act as cover for Louis (Ludik), who sustained a hamstring injury in the final game of last season and is expected to be available for selection by November, and David Busby, who will now miss at least the first half of the season through an injury picked up in pre-season.

“His presence will also support the development of the young back three players within our senior and Academy squads. We saw the significant impact Christian had on Johnny McPhillips last year and we would hope that Henry will provide us with something similar.”