Ulster Rugby: Australian Henry Speight joins province on a short-term deal

Henry Speight has played over 100 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies

Ulster have signed Australian back Henry Speight on a short-term contract.

The 30-year-old arrives on a similar deal to that of fellow Brumbies team-mate Christian Leali’ifano, who played for Ulster for part of last season.

Fijian-born Speight, who has played 19 times for the Wallabies, will return to Australia at the end of the year.

“This is a fresh challenge for me and I hope to embrace it by relishing every moment and adding value to the group as best I can,” he said.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent a big club like Ulster.

“I’ve spoken to Christian 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.”

Brumbies out-half Christian Leali’ifano had a successful loan spell at Ulster in the first half of the 2017-18 season

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

The back three player picked up an ankle injury in the last match of the 2018 Super Rugby season but has been medically cleared to play.

Ulster will begin their Pro14 campaign at home to last season’s beaten finalists Scarlets on 1 September.

The province’s operations director Bryn Cunningham is pleased to be able to bolster the squad with such a quality player at this stage of the season.

“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,” he said.

“We hope he will quickly become be a real fans’ favourite at Kingspan Stadium.”

Speight will act as cover for Louis Ludik, who will not be available until November after sustaining a hamstring injury in the final game of last season, and David Busby, who is also ruled out for the first half of the season.

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