Speight Wallabies wait is over

November 21, 2014 11:16:01 UK

Kurtley Beale will start on the bench against Ireland.

Coach Michael Cheika is happy to see Henry Speight get his long-awaited Wallabies debut in the Test against Ireland in Dublin.

Speight, who played for his native Fiji in the Junior World Cup in 2008, has been eligible for Australia since September after sitting out a four-year waiting period.

His international chance was delayed by a hamstring injury suffered in training, and after he recovered he had his first taste of Wallabies action in the game against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

His Test chance comes after three weeks of heavy training under new coach Cheika, who said: “Henry has done all the right things to earn his selection, has had an outstanding Super Rugby season and deserves his opportunity to play for Australia.

“He is very passionate about representing Australia and we’re all looking forward to seeing him bring his best attributes to our game.”

The 26-year-old is one of four changes to the starting side that lost 29-26 to France in Paris last weekend, replacing his Brumbies teammates Joe Tomane.

Elsewhere, Matt Toomua comes in at centre in place of Christian Leali’ifano, flanker Luke Jones is preferred to Sean McMahon and James Horwill is replaced at lock by Sam Carter.

Australia are 2.20 to beat Ireland, who are 1.66.

Kurtley Beale was named on an extended 11-man bench and is likely to get some game time at Aviva Stadium.

The only specialist backrower named on the bench is Jake Schatz, who is set to play just 10 days after receiving his call-up while on holiday in Thailand.

Australia have only faced Ireland once since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011, beating them 32-15 in Dublin on their European tour last year.

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