Wallabies centre Kurtley Beale has revealed the design of Australia's first Indigenous jersey on Thursday night.
Beale was a vocal advocate of the introduction of such a jersey, speaking to RUGBY.com.au last year, and his dream has come to fruition.
The 28-year-old posted a picture to Twitter wearing the jersey for the first time, writing: "So proud to reveal the 1st Indigenous @QantasWallabies jersey! I hope I can run out in it against the All Blacks on Oct 21."
The Wallabies will wear the jersey, designed by Sydney artist Dennis Golding, in the third Bledisloe on October 21.>Fourteen symbols on the jersey serve to commemorate the communities of Australia's 14 Indigenous Wallabies - Cecil Ramalli, Lloyd McDermott, Mark, Glen and Gary Ella, Lloyd Walker, Andrew Walker, Jim Williams, Wendell Sailor, Timana Tahu, Anthony and Saia Faingaa, Beale and Matt Hodgson.
>Beale said the jersey would be a symbol for all Australians.
“All Australians – indigenous and non-indigenous – will be able to wear this jersey and embrace what it represents, so I think it’s a really important step towards reconciliation," he said.
“There are heaps of young Indigenous kids out there who are really talented at rugby, and I hope this jersey helps inspire them to strive to reach their goals in rugby and in life. This is a great way to pay respect to the Indigenous community, and also encourage more people from Indigenous backgrounds to get involved in rugby in the future.”
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said this was just one step in improving Indigenous participation in rugby.
"Having an Indigenous jersey is a real statement for Australian Rugby and shows what we stand for," he said.
"We are committed to making rugby a game for all, and a key part of this includes making rugby more accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“While we still have much more to do I am proud of the progress we’ve made in recent years especially through our Indigenous rugby primary schools program, Deadly7s, which had more than 5,000 participants last year.
“This year we’ve already seen some of this work pay off at the national representative level.
"For the first time ever, there are Indigenous players contracted to all Super Rugby and national teams, and 13 members of our junior national sevens teams come from an Indigenous background. It’s a great sign of things to come for the future.”
Beale will return to Australia in the coming weeks ahead of his return to the Wallabies and Waratahs, with August 19's opening Bledisloe Test earmarked as his return date.
>He will have some competition for the inside centre spot, though, with Karmichael Hunt's emergence during June, after Reece Hodge took over the spot at the back end of 2016 when Beale was injured.
>The jersey will go on sale on Tuesday July 11, at wallabyshop.com.au and anywhere Asics products are sold.