7/18/2013

Speight up to pace for finals rugby


University of Canberra Brumbies flyer Henry Speight believes Sunday’s playoff match against the Cheetahs will be played at a much higher intensity and physicality than the squad will be used to, but remains confident that the side will perform under the added pressure.

The Fijian born winger will line up for his first finals campaign this weekend when the ACT-based side return to the playoffs for the first time since their triumphant 2004 season, which saw the club win the title.

But while Speight is looking forward to the opportunity of playing in his first series, he is also fully aware of how different the game style will be.

“I am really excited about the game, it’s been nine years since the last finals have been held in Canberra so it’s really exciting times,” Speight said.

“I am expecting a lot more pressure in the game, knowing that it is a playoff game and whoever wins gets a semi-final spot.

“I think it’s crucial that we minimise our individual errors and if it’s a tight game like it was last weekend, I think it’s more onus on the outside backs to work off the wings and look for more work.

“It’s definitely going to come down to work rate this weekend and that’s what we are working on.”

Speight known to his teammates as ‘Silky’, has been in terrific form in 2013, scoring a career best eight tries for the season and helping his side book their first home final in nine years.

But with a bumper crowd expected for Sunday’s clash with the Cheetahs, Speight says he will seek the advice from some of the older heads in the Brumbies squad on how best to handle the new experience.

“I am going to try and pick Stephen Larkham’s brain this week and see how he can help,” Speight said.

“We are also really fortunate to have Clyde and George in the team that are also experienced of having played finals footy.

“They have all won a title and they have already shared bits and pieces of what it’s like, so it’s good to feed off that and take that on board to build towards Sunday.”

Speight’s fellow back and good friend Christian Lealiifano is also excited about the prospect of playing a final at Canberra Stadium.

The 24 year old has been in career best form this season, but was disappointed with the side’s effort on Saturday night which saw the ACT lose 21-15 to the Western Force in Perth.

“Obviously really disappointed about Saturday,” Lealiifano said.

“Something we speak about is learning from the experiences we have whether that’s a loss, draw or win.

“This group definitely bounces back from a loss, so hopefully we can do that on Sunday and play some good footy.”

Brumbies Rugby is looking forward to seeing a packed Canberra Stadium this Sunday when the University of Canberra Brumbies face the Central Cheetahs in the first qualifying final at 4.10pm.