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Australia international Henry Speight joins Ulster on short-term deal

The 19-Test Wallabies international can play across the back three.

Speight:
Speight: "This is a fresh challenge for me and I hope to embrace it."
Image: AAP/PA Images

AUSTRALIA INTERNATIONAL HENRY Speight has joined Ulster on a short-term contract, strengthening the northern province for the opening months of the new season.

Speight, 30, will arrive at Ravenhill later this month and remain there until 31 December before returning to the Brumbies ahead of the new Super Rugby season.

The 19-Test Wallabies international can play across the back three and offers Ulster an experienced option while Louis Ludik continues to recover from his hamstring injury.

French giants Toulon were also reported to be interested in snapping up Speight on a short-term deal, but he opted for Ulster following conversations with Brumbies team-mate Christian Lealiifano who had a similar stint in Belfast last season.

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

“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.

“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 Director of Operations, hopes that Speight will prove to be a valuable mentor to the province’s youngsters as well as an influence on the pitch.

“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.”

Speight suffered an ankle injury in the final game of the Super Rugby season but is expected to be fit and available when Ulster kick off their Pro14 campaign at home to Scarlets on 1 September.

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Niall Kelly

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