Henry Speight eligible for Wallabies from September
January 24, 2014
Speight will be available for Australia later this year © Getty Images
Brumbies wing Henry Speight will be eligible to play for Australia from September 11, the IRB has confirmed.
Calls to select Speight have intensified in recent years, with two high-scoring seasons in Super Rugby leading to many calling him one of the best wings currently playing in Australia. The IRB's decision means he will be available in time for four of Australia's Rugby Championship games, and the final Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand on October 18 in Brisbane.
An IRB panel ruled that Fijian-born Speight has still not satisfied the 36-consecutive months' residency criteria to qualify straight away for the national team. Laws dictate a player needs to spend three consecutive years in a country before being called up for international representation.
The main issue around his eligibility stemmed from his 2011 season Waikato in New Zealand's ITM Cup. Having lived in Hamilton before, Speight's stint with Waikato was seen as a homecoming of sorts despite being registered as a foreign development player from the Brumbies.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) had hoped to have Speight cleared in time for last autumn's tour to the UK, Ireland and Italy. But, due to his season in New Zealand, the IRB has issued the strictest interpretation of the law.
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