|BRUMBY STAR: Speight.|
In a recent exercise in the team room players had to write a light-hearted epitaph for their teammates. The words for Speight's tombstone were simply, 'Went quietly'.
But while you have to lean in and listen closely to the Fijian 23-year-old pictured left with his sister Lusiana Speight-Work, he tells a story of loud family history.
It's a story of treason, violence, a couple of coups and the loss of loved ones. It's also a story of love, pride, loyalty and endurance.
Speight's family history is intertwined in some of the greatest upheaval in recent Fijian history.
And one relative stands apart for his fame and notoriety his uncle George Speight.
Many will remember the news in 2000 when the bald businessman Speight led a group of nationalist gunmen, including his younger brother Jim, into Fijian parliament and ousted elected Indian-Fijian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and took almost the entire parliament hostage for several weeks.
Even in a country where coups d'etat have been commonplace the country is currently under the rule of a military dictator Frank Bainimarama it was a shocking act, albeit one that had its admirers among the ethnic Fijian population.
Eventually justice was imposed on Speight and he was sentenced to death by hanging, although this was later commuted to life in prison.
Speight is now held in Naboro Prison, west of the capital Suva, and reportedly has few visitors. On Christmas Day last year one of those visitors was his nephew Henry, fresh from signing a contract with the ACT Brumbies.
Henry visits his uncle whenever he's in Fiji as a dutiful nephew would. He gave him a gift of a Waikato jersey last year when he was playing for the New Zealand province. Almost certainly on his next visit he'll take a Brumbies jersey to give to the prison's best-known inmate.
When he sat down this week to discuss his life and his family, Henry knew his uncle's name would be brought up. In truth, questions about "Uncle George" have been dogging him half his life.
"It's 11 years later and still often I mention my name to people, even when they're not from Fiji, they'll say, 'The name rings a bell'. People ask me all the time if I'm related to him and I've never denied it," Speight says.
"People make choices in his life that lead them on paths. He made choices and whether they were good or bad, I don't know. I don't see him as more than that he's my uncle, my Dad's brother and I've never avoided that question. If I did that it would be wrong of me."
Henry grew up in Suva, the second youngest of five children to dad Samisoni and mum Litia. For most of their upbringing Samisoni worked in Sydney as an aircraft engineer with Qantas, returning to Fiji to see his family about once a month.
Despite this disconnection, Speight says he and his siblings had a normal childhood, until 1996 when his mother fell ill with cancer and died. Henry was eight. With their mum gone and their dad working overseas, Henry and his siblings went into the home of their mum's father, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, a prominent tribal leader and, even in his 70s, an ambitious politician.
He raised them as if they were his own children, encouraging in them the qualities of humility and gratitude. He also tried to insulate them from the complicated world outside their home.
That world became one of chaos and conflict in May 2000, when George Speight marched into the parliament building and announced he was in charge. As a result of the coup, which was for a time effectively endorsed by the country's tribal leaders, Iloilo was promoted from vice-president to president by a council of chiefs.
Incredibly he was in a position two years later to commute the death sentence handed down to Speight his former son-in-law's brother after he was convicted of treason. Speight's younger brother Jim was also sentenced to jail for helping him during the coup.
Iloilo himself became a very controversial figure, chiefly for abolishing the constitution in 2009, a move that entrenched the rule of dictator Bainimarama. But to Speight he was just his grandfather, the person he loved and admired.
"We saw him as a father figure and that was it. We had a feeling but at home it was just normal, like any other kid would talk to his Dad. Nothing changed, even though as kids we knew he was much bigger than that outside the home," Speight said.
"With the situation with my uncle, my grandfather held us together and told us that despite what was happening and the criticism of my uncle, for us not to dwell on it too much."
Speight spent his high school years at Fiji's Queen Victoria School, moving to New Zealand for his final year on a part scholarship at Hamilton Boys High in Waikato.
He progressed into the Waikato senior ranks, where last year he met Brumby Christian Lealiifano, who played a season in the New Zealand domestic league.
It was Lealiifano who brought Speight at that time unwanted by any of the Kiwi Super Rugby teams to the attention of then Brumbies coach Andy Friend.
"Christian was always saying after training, 'Hey bro, we're short on wings at the Brumbies, want me to put a word in for you' ... It was like a joke and I said, 'Yeah, yeah, say a lot of good things about me' but he actually went and told Andy Friend and eventually they called me and asked if I was interested."
After moving to Canberra, Speight thought everything was going perfectly in the week of round one. He was named in the starting side to make his debut against his former teammates of the Waikato Chiefs.
But early in the week his grandfather died at the venerable age of 90. Speight rushed home to Fiji to be part of a funeral that drew an estimated crowd of 5000.
He only returned to Australia on the evening before the match and he admits he struggled to ready himself.
"On his 90th birthday he had planned to come over for the Hurricanes and the Western Force games. We had a really good talk about it. On the Chiefs game, throughout the day I was OK, but then to run up and see the atmosphere, finally say to myself that, 'Finally I'm here, I've reached one of my goals' and for him to have passed away a couple of days, it was really an emotional moment, but when we started the game I was able to clear my head and push those emotions aside and focus on the game."
That victory against the Chiefs had a special importance for Speight's grieving family back in Fiji. About 20 people had gathered in the home of his uncle Emosi and aunty Lusi to watch the game. For 80 minutes they stopped dwelling on the loss of their patriarch.
Their celebrations at the end of the game were so wild their neighbours complained.
Since then the core of that group has established a routine of sending text messages to Speight before games and calling him directly after. Virtually as soon as he walks into the change room, he takes their call and is put on speaker phone in that lounge room in Fiji's second largest city Lautoka.
"In the past few weeks it's something that usually picks me up after the losses we've been having. Every time they call they say, 'Hard luck, but no matter what happens, we're always here for you, we'll always be behind you and the Brumbies'. It's good to have a dozen loyal Brumbies fans back in Fiji."
It's undoubtedly harder for Speight to go about his rugby, separated from his family and with their safety on his mind.
His older brother Sam is a member of the British army, currently based in Portugal. Henry worries he might be sent to Afghanistan.
Then there's the plight of his father Samisoni, who several years ago returned to Fiji and became a cabinet minister in the deposed government of Laisenia Qarase.
The week before the Brumbies played the Queensland Reds, Samisoni was allegedly arrested and beaten by soldiers for circulating anti-government DVDs, an incident that drew condemnation from Amnesty International.
He fled Fiji and is reportedly seeking asylum in Australia. His dad's situation is the one topic about his family Henry says he won't comment on.
Since he began earning money through his rugby, he has sent what he can afford back to Fiji, particularly to help youngest brother Jerry "the smartest of the family" complete his university degree.
That one act shows how family is everything to Henry Speight. But what he hopes to do for them is more than just provide financial help.
He wants to redeem a family name that his uncle, supported by the family as he might be, has made notorious. He wants to make the Speight name known for something different.
"What I want to do is change people's perception of the Speight name from a coup leader to a rugby player," Speight says.
"Since I went to New Zealand and here for the Brumbies, I think the reference to the Speight name is changing to a rugby perspective, which I think is a good thing.
"Personally I'm enjoying being here at the Brumbies and it's got a positive flow on effect on my family, both sides of my family."