Betham replaces Speight in Wallabies squad
July 31, 2014
Peter Betham started the season strongly for New South Wales Waratahs © Getty Images
Speight sustained the injury in the second half of the Super Rugby semi-final against New South Wales Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, but he is expected to be fit before he finally becomes available for Australia on September 11.
"It's disappointing for Henry but I've got no doubt that he'll go back and work hard during the rehab process to get his injury healed before he becomes eligible," Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said.
McKenzie had hoped to select Speight this time last year, but eligibility dramas delayed the Fijian-born winger's availability. He is now eligible to play first in against Argentina on the Gold Coast on September 13.
Wallabies call up Henry Speight%]
Speight was one of just two specialist wingers in the Wallabies squad, and McKenzie hence called up Betham ahead of Melbourne Rebels flyer Tom English with incumbent Nick Cummins having departed Australia to play in Japan.
Betham made his Test debut against the All Blacks last October, when injuries also hit, but he unlikely to add to his sole cap when Australia play New Zealand in Sydney and Auckland next month. Brumbies winger Joe Tomane was already the warm favourite to replace Cummins on the left wing while Adam Ashley-Cooper is set to stay on the right.
Betham started the season strongly for the Waratahs, but he is on the Waratahs' bench for the Super Rugby final against the Crusaders after losing his place in the starting side due to a foot injury and the good form of Alofa Alofa and Rob Horne .
"He's a quality team member on and off the field and will be determined to make the most of the opportunity he has been given," McKenzie said.
The loss of Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor to French clubs, plus injury to Queensland Reds youngster Chris Feauai-Sautia, has seen McKenzie choose regular centres Pat McCabe and Horne as wing options.