The Australian Rugby Union has officially launched its Anzac weekend, with the unveiling of a new Rugby exhibition at The Rugby Club in Sydney this week.
The exhibition was officially opened by former Qantas Wallabies Captain Stirling Mortlock AM, Australian Women’s Sevens Captain Sharni Williams and former Wallaroo and current contracted Women’s Sevens player Mollie Gray.
The exhibition pays tribute to fallen Wallabies who answered the call to arms and tells Rugby’s story during the First World War.
The theme of this weekend’s round of Asteron Life Super Rugby action is ‘Rugby Remembers’.
Mortlock said he was proud to launch the display at the spiritual home of Rugby in Sydney.
“It’s great to be back at The Rugby Club and celebrate 100 years of Anzac history.”
“The ARU-Anzac display in partnership with The Rugby Club have put together a wonderful display which pays tribute to the 20 Wallabies who served at Gallipoli and the five who paid the ultimate price.
“It was remarkable to see the numerous diary entries of Wallaby number 99, Tom Richards who was present at the landing and the evacuation of Gallipoli.”
Australian Rugby Union’s General Manager of Marketing, Operations and Professional Rugby, Rob Clarke said it was a proud but solemn occasion for Rugby.
“Throughout the weekend, we will acknowledge the brave people from our sport who sacrificed everything for their country.
“Rugby was a part of the Anzac story with many players giving up their boots and jerseys for a uniform and a bayonet.
“Telling the inspiring stories of these men in the ‘Rugby Remembers’ exhibition recognises their exceptional bravery.
“For the Australian Rugby Union to partner with The Rugby Club is a unique opportunity for Rugby to tell its story. It’s very moving and brings to light the rich history that we have as a sport.”
In addition to the exhibition, the Australian Rugby Union has also created the ‘Anzac Rugby Remembers’ website, www.rugby.com.au/anzac.
The Rugby Remembers site includes Rugby’s story of the 61 Wallabies who served in the First World War; and a Remembrance Wall which encourages the public to contribute to the Anzac stories of their loved ones.
As part of the weekend, the Australian Rugby Sevens program will also commemorate 100 years of Anzac spirit with the Men's squad travelling to Canberra to attend the Anzac Dawn Service and the Women's side taking part in Camp Gallipoli in Centennial Park in Sydney.
In Round 11 of the Asteron Life Super Rugby Competition, the ARU and New Zealand Rugby are joining forces for Anzac Day as Rugby Remembers 100 years of service and sacrifice of those who served Australia and New Zealand.
On Friday 24 April at 5:35pm AEST the Western Force will kick off the memorable weekend in Hamilton against the Chiefs, followed by the Aquis Brumbies will then face the Highlanders in Canberra at GIO Stadium at 7:55pm
On Saturday, The NSW Waratahs will play the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels in an Australian derby at ANZ Stadium in Sydney at 7:55pm. The match will be the first time the Waratahs have played on Anzac Day, with the both teams playing for the Weary Dunlop Shield.
Colonel Sir Ernest Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, AC, CMG, OBE was not only a nationally recognised hero in regards to his service for the Australian Army, but also was the first Victorian to represent the Wallabies.
Dunlop was an Army surgeon who was renowned for his leadership while being held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War.
The Anzac weekend concludes with the Reds taking on the Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon. Prior to kick off a marching Australian Army Band, mounted horses of the 2nd /14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) historical troop and some serving 7th Brigade soldiers will parade down Caxton Street towards Suncorp Stadium with Reds members and fans who have served, or have had families who have served marching behind.
The ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds will play in a special commemorative jerseys with official referee partner, TNT providing match officials with a unique strip throughout the Australian matches during Anzac round.
All Australian matches will include an Anzac remembrance that includes The Ode, Last Post, The Silence and The Revielle, and the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand - a first in the expanded competition’s history. At each venue in Australia, a special commemorative poppy will also be added to the Asteron Life Super Rugby logo
The Rugby Club Anzac ‘Rugby Remembers’ exhibition, located at The Rugby Club in Sydney’s CBD - Rugby Place (Off 31 Pitt Street), Sydney NSW, will be open to the public from today until it is relocated to ANZ Stadium as part of the Bledisloe Cup Festival, when Australia take on New Zealand on Saturday 8 August.
For more information visit www.therugbyclub.com.au.