KRISTY JAMES: Making it her own way, video

THE REAL DEAL: Above, Kristy James at home. Picture: Ryan OslandWHEN Kristy James was six years old she entered a Newcastle radio station competition called Zoo Faces hosted by John Paul Young. She sang a song from Dirty Dancing, winning the prize ($106), and went on to perform at the Newcastle Show.
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‘‘I just wanted to be a singer,’’ she says over a cup at tea on the last day of summer at Lena’s Cafe in Warners Bay.

Twenty-three years later, she’s still singing for money. It’s been a bumpy ride and quite an education, but she’s just as determined to succeed as she was as a child.

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoShe’s the first to admit that you’ve got to produce quality: there are thousands of girls who want to be singers. And she’s gotten better with experience.

She’s a five-foot-two bundle of blonde energy with a beautiful voice that cuts through the air on power ballads like a rock’n’roll queen.

Her newest video clip, Nobody’s Gonna Make Me, hit number 34 and is still in the top 50 this week on the CMC charts. The song is one of six on her debut EP, Nobody’s Gonna Make Me, released late in 2013.

It’s a long way from playing with the Steel City Country Music Club at age 11. But then again, maybe not. James grew up with country music peers like Catherine Britt and Kirsty Akers and organised music events herself as a teenager in Newcastle.

She met Morgan Evans at 16 when they were both in Starstruck. She’s friends with a large group of working musicians in Newcastle and the Central Coast, from Troy Kemp to Mike Carr to Dave Leslie.

As magic as the images that come from video clips are, and the notion that anybody who makes an album is successful, that’s not the case in Australia. It’s a small market, and as much talent as there is in every pocket of the music industry, there are not many who make a fortune in it.

Kristy makes living the hard way, the honest way, in the music industry. She has been doing gigs most weekends for 11 years, under the name ‘‘Kristy’’, playing cover songs. During the week she gives guitar and voice lessons from her Warners Bay home.

She’s toyed with the reality talent shows, but never jumped in.

She worked for an insurance company for three years – her only job outside music. And took time out to have children (Jaiden is 7 and Willow 5).

‘‘I can’t afford not to succeed,’’ Kristy says. ‘‘I didn’t want them [the children] to think it’s ok to give up. It’s not money. It’s not fame. I want people to enjoy my music.’’

She saves her name, Kristy James, for her original music.

Motherhood and music occasionally cross over.

Late last year she was picking up her kids from school at Mount Hutton when she was greeted by a surprise.

‘‘My son took my CD and poster to school without me knowing it,’’ she says. ‘‘All of a sudden when I went to pick them up after school there was a crowd. Jaiden said ‘I took your CD to school’. So I played at the school’s Carols by Candlelight and organised friends to help.’’

‘‘I’ve been writing music for a few years, but couldn’t find anywhere it fits. But now, as country music is evolving, especially in America, my music fits in. Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert – artists like them are paving the way for the genre to grow,’’ she says. ‘‘People hear artists like them and think ‘that’s a good song’ and that’s the way it should be.’’

Her first single, Overdrive, was released in December 2012, reaching number 19 on the iTunes country chart and made the CMC Top 50. It was also picked by ABC Records for two compilation CDs – Women in Song, and Beaut Utes 2013.

Buoyed by the success, she the crowd-funding website pozible, last year to raise $5000 towards production of her EP and second video clip.

She wrote five of the six songs on the EP, and shares writing credits on Nobody’s Gonna Make Me with Mike Carr, one of the best country songwriters in Australia.

The EP was recorded at The Grove Studios and Hillbilly Hut on the Central Coast under the auspices of producer Simon Johnson. It is the best music she has ever made, and the songs hold up to scrutiny.

‘‘I’ve gone from never wanting to write to wanting to write for a living,’’ she says of her originals.

‘‘It’s really hard to write good music,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s harder to make great music.’’

You only know that when you get there.

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Settled Hunters start quest for playoffs

READY: Charlotte Bull, Josh Morgan, Cheryl Wills and Bennie Murray at the Hunters’ season launch last night. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTHE Newcastle Hunters hope a revamped roster and a more settled pre-season preparation will provide a launching pad for their return to the Waratah Basketball League playoffs.
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The Hunters tip off tomorrow against arch rivals Sydney Comets at Alexandria before their first home game against champions Manly tomorrow week.

This time last year, Trevor Gallacher had just replaced Darren Nichols as coach and had to deal with an exodus of senior players.

The Hunters punched above their weight for most of the season but a last-round loss to Sutherland meant they finished with a 12-12 win-loss record and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Gallacher has since welcomed back former National Basketball League point guard Josh Morgan, who will captain the Hunters, and other experienced campaigners including Jon Howe and Adam Melmeth.

Californian Bennie Murray arrived last month to fill the import spot and twin towers Steve Davis and Tim Nall will give the Hunters an inside presence they have lacked in recent years.

‘‘Playing the Comets in round one will be a wonderful challenge,’’ Gallacher said before the Hunters launched their season at the Prince of Wales Hotel last night.

‘‘We have had a great rivalry over the last 10 years and we always consider our match-up to be a good benchmark of the quality of our preparation.

‘‘Our pre-season has been arduous, so the players are excited to start playing.’’

Without Morgan, Melmeth or Davis, the Hunters played trial games against three South East Australian Basketball League teams on a pre-season tour of Victoria two weeks ago.

Gallacher said the Hunters rebounded from a heavy first-up loss to Knox to get within 11 points of defending champions Dandenong before going down to Kilsyth by 30.

‘‘The standard of play in the SEABL competition is exceptional. It was a great basketball experience, and our goal is to be able to perform at that level,’’ he said.

‘‘But we are under no illusions as to the toughness of our own competition also.’’

Cindy Mascord has replaced Paul Lyth in charge of the Hunters women’s team, who again will be captained by playmaker Cheryl Wills.

Already without Opals squad member Katie Ebzery, the Hunters lost home-grown US college guard Sophie Kleeman to SEABL club Albury-Wodonga Border Bandits last month.

Guard Susi Walmsley is due to arrive mid-season, and until then the Hunters will look to Wills, Charlotte Bull, Jill Morgan and Sophie White to lead the way for young guns Jess Orr, Laura Dick and Sophie Parente, who have graduated from the club’s junior ranks.

‘‘We’re looking forward to a fresh new season for a team of mostly youthful players who play with a lot of fighting spirit and enthusiasm,’’ Wills said.

‘‘With a new coach at the helm providing a wealth of experience, we look forward to the wisdom she will impart. This, combined with the passion and exuberance of the new playing roster, we anticipate an exciting and enjoyable year for the Hunters women.’’

Maitland Mustangs, who finished last season on a 20-game losing streak, will welcome Hornsby Spiders to Maitland Federation Centre at 7pm tomorrow.

Again coached by Larry Davidson, the Mustangs have added Goran Veg from the now defunct Parramatta Wildcats, and Terrell Turner has been signed as the second import to partner 2012 WBL Most Valuable Player Mitch Rueter.

Maitland will play last year’s runners-up, Hornsby, at 5pm in the women’s game.

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Manly will be out for blood, says Maguire

BACKLASH: The Sea Eagles after conceding a try to the Storm last weekend. Picture: Getty ImagesSOUTH Sydney coach Michael Maguire says he is wary of a Manly side coming off a record loss in tonight’s encounter in Gosford.
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Manly surrendered a 20-0 lead, a Brookvale Oval record, against Melbourne, when they lost 23-22 in golden-point extra-time.

The loss has stung the Sea Eagles, and forwards leader Anthony Watmough declared the effort ‘‘wasn’t up to NRL standard’’.

The Rabbitohs were the most impressive team in round one with their 28-8 win over premiers Sydney Roosters, but Maguire cautioned his troops as to the bounce-back factor as they get ready to face last year’s grand finalists in successive weeks.

‘‘Melbourne are a team that have shown for a long, long time they are always in the game, and so are Manly,’’ Maguire said.

‘‘It was probably very unlike a Manly team, but I know they will come out fired up this week and we have to be sure we are well and truly on our game.

‘‘In that first half last week Manly were on fire. They put a number of great plays on, they showed their capabilities, and no doubt they will again.

‘‘If that loss happened to be us, we would be stung, too, so we know they will be well and truly up for a game.

‘‘They are always dangerous. They have been a quality team for a long time and they have been performing at a high level for a long time and been involved in grand finals for a while now.’’

Brett Stewart [hamstring] is a significant omission for Manly for the Central Coast Stadium clash. Pita Hiku will take his spot at fullback.

David Williams (knee) returns for Manly alongside prop Jason King, who has overcome a shoulder injury.

Souths are unchanged from the 17 that beat the Roosters.

Meanwhile, Souths have begun to look elsewhere for a replacement to superstar Sam Burgess after they missed out on Andrew Fifita.

The Rabbitohs were linked to off-contract Bulldogs prop James Graham, but he appears set to stay at Belmore.

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Business chamber on the move to TAFE campus

NEW DIGS: TAFE boss Phil Cox and chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan. The chamber is moving to TAFE’s Hamilton campus. Picture: Ryan OslandAFTER a decade based in the cavernous and antiquated main administration building at BHP’s Mayfield East site, the Hunter Business Chamber is moving.
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Next month, its 13 staff will shift to the historic Great Northern Brewery building at Hunter TAFE’s Parry Street campus in Hamilton, occupying a 400-square-metre space that was most recently used for teaching hair and beauty courses.

Chief executive Kristen Keegan said the move by the chamber, the largest regional business chamber in Australia, would accommodate her growing staff and consolidate the strong relationship the chamber had with TAFE.

“The chamber remains focused on ensuring Hunter businesses are able to access a highly skilled workforce and our partnership with Hunter TAFE continues to deliver positive, tangible outcomes across a number of areas,” she said.

Ms Keegan said the chamber’s move also represented a significant vote of confidence in the city and its ongoing growth and renewal.

Hunter TAFE chief executive Phil Cox said the organisation worked closely with the chamber to develop programs that added to the region’s development.

“We have strong relations with business generally but we want to be able to demonstrate that even more. It’s really important for us to be aligned with industry,” he said.

The Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) manages the chamber’s former offices at the BHP site, with the building part of the potential port lease transaction.

Last month, the Newcastle Herald reported that three historic buildings on the steelworks site would be demolished in order to remediate the land.

HDC general manager Bob Hawes said there were no plans for the main administration building to be demolished.

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BarTV to screen NPL

NORTHERN NSW Football fans will be able to watch games online this season under a new agreement with Newcastle-based television company BarTV.
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BarTV will film a game every round, plus finals, to be viewed online or throughout its network of hotels and clubs.

The Friday, April 4, season opener between Edgeworth and the Jets youth team at Jack McLaughlan Oval will be streamed live on the web.

Last season, BarTV filmed and distributed Newcastle Rugby League matches in pubs and clubs that subscribed.

A match of the round was streamed live at the Herald’s website, theherald爱上海同城论坛m.au, via the firmBLive.

“The National Premier League will be shared around for the first half of the season and then it will go to a traditional top-of-the-table clash, so if you’re not in the top five or six, you probably won’t get a game,” BarTV director Josh Mason said.

“But that could then open up as we know some clubs who will cover the cost to get their matches played anyway, so by week six or seven we’ll probably cover two or three, and possibly more, NPL matches.”

Live streaming of local sport events has grown quickly in popularity. Last year’s Newcastle Rugby League grand final between Western Suburbs and Kurri Kurri attracted an online audience of 7300.

NNSWF marketing and communications manager David Cromarty said it was important that local football gained a presence in live streaming.

“With the introduction of the NPL we thought it was probably a good opportunity to see how it goes, and it’s something to add to the professionalism of the NPL and build the profile of the league that way,” Cromarty said.

The footage would also be made available to clubs and through NNSWF’s social media channels.

“We’ll do a match of the round this year and get the feedback to see how it’s received and go from there.”

“The feedback that Josh [Mason] was giving us is there was a lot interest out there from a lot of people wanting football content as they were already carrying rugby union and the local rugby league, so ours was a notable omission.”

BarTV will also show one Black Diamond AFL match every weekend and will film all NRL matches this season, from under 18s through to first grade. Those games will be screened in selected pubs and clubs.

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Sydney FC motivated by big losses to Brisbane Roar, says Sebastian Ryall

The memory of two thumping defeats this season will provide ample motivation for Sydney FC against league leaders Brisbane Roar on Friday night, says defender Sebastian Ryall.
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The Sky Blues were demolished 4-0 at Suncorp Stadium in round two and 5-2 at Allianz Stadium in round 12, two results that aptly demonstrated the gulf in class between the two sides.

Ryall admits it is difficult to separate Brisbane’s overwhelming attacking talent – which includes the likes of Besart Berisha, Thomas Broich, Dimitri Petratos, Matt McKay and Liam Miller – and their defence, which has conceded less than a goal a game on average (20 goals in 22 games) this season.

“You can’t really pinpoint any one of their players; they’re a great side and they’ve shown that against us this season already,” he said. “They’ve absolutely killed us in the two matches we’ve played, so we’re expecting a tough match. But we’re at home, we’ve got the fans behind us.”

Sydney at least appear in better form this time around, having won three of their past four matches. And Ryall says they’ve done their homework on Mike Mulvey’s side, who outwitted the in-form Adelaide United 2-1 last week.

“We’ve analysed Brisbane, we’ve got our game plan and obviously we’re going to be playing a different kind of game to the last one when it didn’t work,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to play against the top team. It’s going to be a tough match, but we’re prepared for it.”

The Roar are 10 points clear of second-placed Western Sydney and are now red-hot favourites to win their third league title, which would make them the only A-League club to have won a trio of championships.

“For sure, they’re the best team in the league and I think they’ve proven that this year,” Ryall said. “They’ve got a great squad and play really good football. It will be a good test for us and I think we’re up for it.”

However, the Sky Blues can’t be discounted on form, last week’s dramatic come-from-behind 3-1 win in the Sydney derby delivering a huge shot of self-belief.

“With five matches left, after getting a result against Western Sydney, it’s a confidence boost and every match from now on is vital and we need to pick up maximum points if we can,” Ryall said.

“It’s such a tight competition and we’ve been a bit hot and cold throughout the year. We’ve had some tough periods, but it’s a good squad that we have here and coming into the last matches, we’ve got some big games.

“Beating Western Sydney has been good for everyone here. We’re a tight group and we’ve got the confidence in each other and anything can happen from here on in.”

Only five points separates the second-placed Wanderers from seventh-placed Newcastle, meaning the finals puzzle is far from complete, and seemingly changing each weekend.

Incredibly, a win for Sydney FC could hoist them as high as second, a remarkable possibility considering the side went into the Sydney derby outside the top six.

“We’re taking it each match at a time, because you if you look at the ladder, it’s so close between second and way down to eighth,” Ryall said. “It’s just a matter of picking up points each week and after a good performance against Western Sydney we need to bounce back from that and pick up something again.”

Ryall says his teammates have spoken about the major talking point of last week’s derby – Ali Abbas’ accusation of being racially abused by a Wanderers’ player – but that it was now in the hands of the governing body.

“We have spoken about it, but it’s not really for me to comment right now,” he said. “It’s for the FFA and they’ll look after it.”

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WA scientists capture 12 billion-year-old explosion

The 12.5 billion-year-old ‘GRB 140311A’ explosion has been captured by WA scientists. The 12.5 billion-year-old ‘GRB 140311A’ explosion has been captured by WA scientists.
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This is the 12.5 billion-year-old ‘GRB 140311A’ explosion captured by WA scientists.

A West Australian telescope has captured images of a far away star blowing up about 12.5 billion years ago.

Professor David Coward told WAtoday爱上海同城论坛m.au that the recording of the event, known as a gamma ray burst, was significant as he believed it to be the oldest image of its kind to be captured.

“When you look at space, you look back in time,” he said.

The Zadko Telescope, located in Gingin and operated by the University of Western Australia’s School of Physics which operates robotically, is designed to capture flashes in the sky.

It received an alert from a NASA satellite that had been orbiting at about 5.30am on Wednesday that prompted the telescope into action.

Within less than a minute of receiving the alert the telescope began recording images of the sky where the satellite had been pointing when it picked up the light.

Professor Coward said there had only been a short space of time where conditions would allow the activity to be captured.

“With only 18 minutes before daylight, the pressure was on,” he said.

“But out of the blackness, with only minutes to spare, emerged a glowing mysterious source that continued to brighten.

“This was tantalising evidence of a massive star that was undergoing the cataclysmic death throws before collapsing to a black hole.

“Ironically, although appearing faint in the image, the explosion was so bright it totally outshone its host galaxy, which could not even be detected in the images.”

Professor Coward said lucky timing allowed the Zadko telescope to capture the event at its brightest.

The event was given the name GRB 140311A.

Professor Coward said while staff at the university initially had no idea how far away the explosion had occurred, with the help of information from telescopes worldwide, they had since been able to measure the distance to the event.

“It turned out to be so far away, the light from the explosion took 12.5 billion years to reach Earth,” he said.

“The explosion occurred when the Universe was only a small fraction of its present size.”

He said this could be the oldest event captured by Australian scientists.

“The images of the explosion is analogous to lighting a candle in a dark room filled with treasures from the past, and quickly taking photos before the candle goes out.

“This kind of science is like cosmic archaeology.”

An international team, consisting of researchers in Australia, France and China, are using the data to understand these explosions and the early Universe.

“We’ll combine data with others to try to begin to explain how and why this occurred,” he said. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Missing Malaysia Airlines jet: Investigation paying ‘special attention’ to Chinese Uighur passenger

Plane may have flew for four hours after vanishingConfusion over missing plane has shamed Malaysia
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Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.

The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.

Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.

At least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.

The Harian Metro newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the man is not a suspect over the plane’s disappearance but that investigators were delving into his background.

According to the source the man has a PHD from a university in Britain was recently worked as a lecturer at a university in Turkey.

The source said he undertook flight simulation training in Sweden in around 2006.

Malaysian officials have not confirmed the information.

No group has claimed responsibility for the plane’s disappearance.

Police are checking the psychological and personal backgrounds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew, including chief pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah whose house has been raided by police.

Police questioned his family about his behaviour over the days before the plane’s disappearance, the same as they plan to do for all who were on board.

Mr Zharie is a veteran pilot with 18,000 flying hours.

Police say they are investigating the possibilities of hijacking or sabotage.

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Griffiths expected to return for F3 derby

LONG WAIT: Joel Griffiths has not played in an F3 derby since 2008. Picture: Simone De PeakJETS striker Joel Griffiths faces a final fitness test today but is set to play in his first F3 derby in more than five years at Gosford tomorrow night.
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Griffiths was a last-minute withdrawal before last week’s win against Melbourne Heart after aggravating a rib injury in the warm-up.

Scans have cleared the 34-year-old of structural damage and he was reported to have trained well yesterday.

If he can get through a final ball-work session this morning without any setbacks, it is expected Jets coach Clayton Zane will reinstate Griffiths to his starting side for the crucial clash with Central Coast, the reigning champions.

Craig Goodwin would be the likely candidate to drop back to the bench.

Griffiths last played in a derby against Newcastle’s traditional rivals on Boxing Day, 2008, scoring from a penalty in the 2-1 loss at home.

His most recent appearance at Bluetongue Stadium was in October, 2008, when the Jets lost 1-0.

Since rejoining Newcastle in January, after five years playing in China and a brief stint with Sydney, Griffiths has played in three games, in stints of 27, 29 and 70 minutes.

His combination up front with English veteran Emile Heskey and Adam Taggart in the 2-0 win against Western Sydney two weeks ago suggested the Jets were still very much alive in the race for the playoffs.

With five rounds remaining, they are one point behind the sixth-placed Mariners and could climb as high as fourth tomorrow if they rack up their third successive win.

Gosford, however, has been anything but a happy hunting ground for Newcastle.

They were beaten 3-0 there on January 25 and have won only once in 13 visits to the Mariners’ fortress, in January, 2008, when Griffiths scored the winner in a 2-1 victory, just six weeks before Newcastle beat their arch enemies in the A-League grand final.

Jets squad: Mark Birighitti (gk), Kew Jaliens, Ben Kantarovski, Zenon Caravella, Andrew Hoole, Ruben Zadkovich (c), Emile Heskey, Craig Goodwin, Joey Gibbs, Josh Mitchell, Josh Brillante, James Virgili, Sam Gallaway, Ben Kennedy (gk), Adam Taggart, David Carney, Mitch Oxborrow, Joel Griffiths.

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Henry Speight surprised by depth of rivalry between Brumbies and Waratahs in Super Rugby

Ready for rivalry: Henry Speight at Brumbies training on Thursday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths Ready for rivalry: Henry Speight at Brumbies training on Thursday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
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Ready for rivalry: Henry Speight at Brumbies training on Thursday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight says he is an “outsider” in the bitter rivalry with the NSW Waratahs.

But the flying Fijian has vowed to continue his mission to repay the Brumbies for giving him a Super Rugby chance, declaring “I’m a Canberran” and that he is desperate to score on Saturday night.

Speight will play his 50th game for the Brumbies in the Australian conference blockbuster at Canberra Stadium.

It is a milestone Speight thought he would never reach when no Super Rugby team was willing to give him a chance – until the Brumbies offered him a contract.

The Brumbies and Waratahs share a rich history of hatred, stretching back before Super Rugby started in 1996.

”As an outsider coming here, I knew nothing about the [Brumbies’ hate for the Waratahs],” Speight said.

”Then in my first ‘Tah Week’, first thing on Monday morning you get guys freakin’ screaming in your ears that it’s Tah Week.

”I was thinking, ‘what the hell is happening here’. But I’ve come to appreciate how important these derbies are, what it means to the team and to Canberra. I’m deadset on Tah Week as well, I’m a Canberran.”

Speight was the top try-scorer in Australia last season, but has failed to cross the line in three games this year.

The Brumbies’ cult hero has scored three tries in his past four games against the Waratahs and hopes he can open his account this week.

The Brumbies signed Speight for the 2011 campaign after star centre Christian Lealiifano spotted him playing in the New Zealand provincial competition with Waikato.

The Fijian-born speedster will be eligible to play for the Wallabies in September.

The International Rugby Board delayed his Australian Test eligibility because of a brief return to New Zealand to play for Waikato, despite Speight being based in Canberra for four years.

”He’s played 50 games for the Brumbies but he’s still not eligible to play for Australia … it’s a bit ironic. We’re lucky to have him,” Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said.

The Brumbies have won their past two games and the Waratahs started their season with back-to-back bonus-point wins.

”You have to be careful how you build up a game, you don’t want to come in with too much anticipation and lose energy worrying about the game,” Larkham said.

”We learnt a lot from the [Super Rugby final] last year and guys know how to approach big games now.”

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