Flying Fijians propel Brumbies

Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight enjoy cofee in Kingston. Photo: SMH

Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight enjoy cofee in Kingston. Photo: SMH

They’re the ACT Brumbies’ ”bula boys” and Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani believe they can spark an attacking rugby revival in Canberra as they attempt to form a devastating partnership.

The flying Fijians are inseparable at the Brumbies as they chase Super Rugby glory. Speight is the try-scoring winger in his third season; he leads the competition for the most five-pointers.

Kuridrani is the blockbusting outside centre who is stamping himself as a future star.

And while they’re still getting used to the sub-zero Canberra winters, they’re bringing some Fijian flair to Brumbyland.

”We speak Fijian to each other all the time … especially on the field,” Speight said.

”The other guys all think we’re speaking gibberish and try to imitate what we’re saying. We talk to the other guys in English, but for us it’s best in Fijian.

”It’s just good to have a fellow countryman, we just look after each other.

”Sometimes it’s dinner, sometimes we have a kava session and that just reminds us of home.”

Speight, 25, has taken 22-year-old Kuridrani under his wing to help him chase his rugby dreams.

In fact, the pair swap rooms with their teammates on away trips so they can stay together.

Their backgrounds are vastly different.

Speight grew up with his grandfather, former Fiji president and sometimes controversial figure, Josefa Iloilo. His uncle is Fijian coup leader George Speight.

The speedy winger kick-started his career in the New Zealand provincial competition and is now waiting to be eligible for Wallabies selection.

Kuridrani grew up in the same village that produced Canberra Raiders try-scoring machine Noa Nadruku and dual international Lote Tuqiri.

He’s a former Australian under-20s representative and had Brumbies coach Jake White not offered him a contract last season, he would have moved back to Fiji.

They’ve taken different paths to the top, but they’re determined to make sure they stay there.

Their families huddle around televisions in Fiji to catch them in action. Speight has been a mainstay in the back line while Kuridrani has started in the No.13 jersey in six of the past seven matches.

Both scored tries in a first-half demolition of the Western Force last weekend and they want to continue the attacking style against the Canterbury Crusaders.

”Henry has been helping me settle down here and making it easier for me … we have kava together on the weekends together,” Kuridrani said.

”In every Fijian it’s easy to click with another Fijian. I’ve been getting more game time and opportunities this year and I’m really enjoying it.

”I just want to attack the gain line as much as I can … the more games I play the more confident I get.”

  • SMH

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Filed under Flying Fijians, Overseas xvs, Pacific Islanders, Personalities, Super 15

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