Brumbies fan favourite Henry Speight has signed a two-year deal with the Queensland Reds for the 2020 and 2021 Super Rugby seasons, ending his nine-year stint in the nation’s capital.
The winger has played 19 tests for the Wallabies, having made his Brumbies debut during the 2011 Super Rugby season against the Chiefs in Canberra Stadium.
The ‘Fijian Flyer’ has captivated Canberra crowds with his deadly left-right steps, his strong fend and hard running style to become one of the most potent outside backs in world rugby.
It is believed a major factor in the 31-year-old’s decision was to be closer to his brother and sister who live in Queensland.
He has scored 45 tries in 119 appearances for the Brumbies, becoming one of the finest wings of his generation and becoming a fan-favourite in the process.
“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 in a statement.
“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.
“I will never forget the kids in who shouted to me when I was on the wing when the ball was on the other side of the field and for those who waited in the middle of winter for an autograph and a chat.
“Whilst I might have a different coloured jersey next year, I can’t wait to see those smiles again in the future.
“I am passionate about the game in this country, see a bright future for Australian Rugby and still have ambitions to contribute at the national level.
“This was the toughest decision I have ever made but discussions with my partner Louise and as an expecting parent for the first time, we thought that a longer-term arrangement and the chance to be around family was the right choice for us all. Regardless of what that future may hold, I am happy and extremely proud to be a Brumby for life.”
Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said Speight is a Brumbies legend and he always will be.
“He is a loved character in our team and loved in the community and is incredibly popular throughout the region,” he said.
“Henry has done so much work for charity off-field and has obviously been an enormous contributor on-field.
“Once a Brumby always a Brumby and that is certainly the case with Henry Speight. When he returns to us, at some point of time in his career in an opposition jersey, I would imagine he would get a warm reception, and he deserves that.
“Whilst it’s sad, we certainly understand why he has made the decision that he has, and we wish him all the best for the future.”