Brumbies flyer Speight strikes twice to sink Waratahs in Sydney

ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight struck twice to prove the difference against NSW Waratahs on Saturday night as the Fijian flyer returns to his devastating best.

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Speight has now scored four tries in four games this season and is the leading try-scorer in the Australian conference alongside Queensland Reds winger Eto Nabuli.

Speight missed most of last year in pursuit of a Rio Olympic Games dream and admitted a frustrating 2016 campaign fuelled his hunger to come back and prove he is still one of the best outside backs in world rugby.

“I’m just happy to be back on the park and playing consistent footy, injuries last year put things in perspective so this year I wanted to come back and just enjoy playing again,” Speight said.

“It was a tough tussle out there and I think our forwards set up a good platform for us backs and it’s always a bonus to get a few tries. I’m pretty happy.

“It’s good to start off on the front foot and take confidence out of each game and build, it also helps playing week-in, week-out.

“Last year there were a few disappointments and setbacks but it just made me want to come back bigger and better and put in a big performance this year.”

The most spectacular of Speight’s tries this season came on Saturday night when the Fijian speedster combined with young gun Joe Powell with the scores locked at 7-7 in the second half.

Speight called for his scrum-half to dink it over the ruck as he flew through and collected the ball before chipping-and-chasing on his non-preferred foot to score.

“It was a tight contest and I called the kick so it was either I made something out of it or the forwards would be riding me hard,” Speight said.

“I couldn’t put it on my right foot so I backed my left and ran for my life and scooted over. The bounce of the ball can be really cruel at times so I’m just thankful it came off.

“When you call those plays you have to really try and make the most of them because in a tough contest like that those opportunities may only come once, so you have to capitalise.”

The victory keeps the Brumbies at the top of the Australian conference and marks nine straight wins against Aussie opposition.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said Speight is back to his best and attributed the “very satisfying win” to the Wallaby winger’s individual brilliance on the back of a strong scrum.

“It was a disjointed year for him last year. He didn’t really get a block of training under his belt for sevens or 15s which made things difficult,” Larkham said.

“All the Wallaby guys came back in really good spirits and he’s been leading the way in terms of our training with his energy and enthusiasm and obviously with his performances.”

Speight has backed the young Brumbies side to put in another winning performance when they host for the Highlanders at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.

“Seeing some of the young fellas play out of their skin and show what they’re capable of has been really good. Us older guys are on our toes because of these younger fellas and there’s a good vibe at the club at the moment,” Speight said.

“The Highlanders are a great attacking team with a lot of quality players across the park, so we’ll enjoy this win but the most important things is not to get too carried away because come next week it’s going to be a different beast again.”

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Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Tickets from Ticketek.