Speight backs Cooper for Rio impact

Date published: July 24 2015

Wallabies wing Henry Speight believes Quade Cooper's addition to Australia's Sevens squad will boost their chances of winning gold at next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Speight put pen to paper on a landmark three-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union that will allow him play Sevens for his country as well as Super Rugby in 2016.

It has also been reported that Cooper is set to sign a similar contract with the ARU, which will boost his country's prospects at the Olympics while players like Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Matt Toomua and Sean McMahon have also been linked with Australia's Sevens team.

“Quade has obviously been in the media and I’m sure if he jumps on board he would really boost the sevens campaign and give it a lot of following, given the calibre of player he is and what he brings to the game,” Speight told Fox Sports.

“It’ll be an exciting prospect if he does play sevens next year.

“That will obviously attract a lot of attention.

“I know there’s a few names they’re trying to get.

“In saying that there’s a good sevens team already in Australia, a lot of talented guys.

“If we add a few Super Rugby names in there we’ll definitely have a great team on paper and gold is the ultimate goal.

“We’ll just need to gel and prove it on the paddock.”

Australia are not assured of a spot at the Rio Olympics yet and must first qualify via an Oceania tournament in Auckland in November.

Speight, who hails from Fiji where Sevens enjoys massive support, said he is delighted to secure a flexible contract and revealed he was an avid viewer of the world series.

“It’s a unique opportunity, not many people get to go to an Olympics," he added.

“I love the game, love watching it.

“Coming from Fiji, that’s our passion, that’s what we aim to play when we grow up.

“I had a nice experience with the Brumbies at the world club sevens two years ago and it’s a lot of fun.

“I’m really looking forward to this and hopefully I go OK.”