Wallabies centre Kurtley Beale hopes the inaugural Indigenous Test jersey is the start of something bigger for Indigenous representation in rugby.
Beale had a close link with the legendary Ella family growing up and watched players like Andrew Walker and Wendell Sailor as a youngster, aspiring to someday join them as a Test player.
When he runs out in the Wallabies’ inaugural Indigenous jersey on Saturday, the design of which includes 14 circles that represent the Indigenous Wallabies through history, that memory will be entrenched in his mind.
“These guys who played before were role models someone I always aspired to, along with likes of Andrew Walker and Wendell Sailor,” he said.
“These guys had a huge impact on the game in the way they liked to play the game. I like to think I deliver a similar style.
“It's great to be able to represent these guys on the weekend.”
Artist Dennis Golding addressed the team this week, explaining the meaning of the design and its significance to the Indigenous community and Beale said it was a moment the entire team was excited about.
Beale hopes the jersey can, in turn, inspire the next generation into a sport that has historically lacked Indigenous representation compared to its rivals.
“That's part of the whole jersey being designed,” he said.
“And with the ARU having a bit of a relationship with Indigenous communities that's definitely going to be having an impact on the boys and girls out there to hopefully one day be a Wallaby.”
The introduction of the jersey has been met with positive public feedback and it seems unlikely this weekend will be its only outing.
Beale said he hoped that it could lead to other initiatives recognising the Indigenous people in Tests, like the All Blacks
“I think paying respects to the first nation's people whether you are South African or a New Zealander, they've started that a long time ago,” he said.
“I think this can be a great step forward for us as a Wallaby group and the ARU to be able to embrace the culture of Indigenous Australia.”
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.