The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has agreed to release
experienced Reds wing Henry Speight to French club Biarritz on a
Signed through 2021 with Queensland, the 32-year-old joined the Reds
in late 2019 following nine seasons with the Brumbies in Canberra.
Ironically, Speight made his Queensland debut against his former club
at GIO Stadium in Round 1 and went on to start in each of the Reds
seven Super Rugby matches this year and score three tries.
QRU CEO David Hanham said: “Henry has been a fantastic servant to Australian Rugby over the past decade.
“Biarritz Olympique have a great rugby history. They have been
respectful during this process and we are pleased that Henry and his
family will get the opportunity to spend the next three years in
France,” said Hanham.
Speight said: “I would like to take the opportunity to say a
heartfelt and enormous thank you to the entire organisation that is the
“Firstly, the opportunity to experience an elite Rugby program which
is surrounded and upheld by quality people, who have a genuine care for
the person and the professional. This group and the organisation have
demonstrated that the Reds are a destination club that will allow
players to be their absolute best and the strong culture here is
something that I know that I will deeply miss.
“My family and I are unbelievably grateful that, from the Board down,
our request was dealt with respect and that the organisation was
ultimately sympathetic to the opportunity that lies in front of us. I
know that this place has an exciting future and I look forward to being
able to say with enormous pride that I pulled on the Queensland Reds
jersey, when the organisation achieves the success that it deserves,”
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Henry has been great for our program. He is a true gentleman and a family man who brought plenty of experience and knowledge.
“He was well respected and a lot of the guys here looked-up to him for advice both on-and-off the field.
“We’ll miss Henry, but we’re happy to send him along his way. He’s
contributed so much for Australian Rugby for more than a decade. We wish
him and his family all the best for their next chapter in France.
“When one door closes, another one opens. It’s awesome we have
another quality player in Suliasi Vunivalu set to join our program.
It’ll be exciting to see him battle fellow Fijian Filipo Daugunu and
others within our squad for those wing spots next year,” said Thorn.
After it was announced last year, Reds fans can look forward to
seeing Melbourne Storm speedster Suliasi Vunivalu, who took-up a
two-year deal from 2021.
A schoolboy Rugby Union talent in New Zealand, Vunivalu will make the
switch back to the 15-man code following several years in the NRL.
During his time in rugby league, the electrifying winger broke the
record for the most tries of any player in his first two seasons at the
Storm – scoring 23 tries in 2016 and again in 2017, as the Daly M’s Top
Try Scorer in both years.
Vunivalu has also scored 12 tries in eight Tests for the Fiji Bati, including nine during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.