Read praises Wallabies' Indigenous jersey

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

All Blacks captain Kieran Read says the introduction of an Indigenous Wallabies jersey will add an extra factor for their Bledisloe opponents.

Read and the All Blacks know all too well the emotional element that comes with cultural recognition, the Haka a long-time symbol of their own country’s heritage.

The New Zealand skipper expects the same effect for the Wallabies on Saturday night, when they become the first Australian side from any sport to wear a national Indigenous jersey.

“I'd expect it'd do something for them, certainly, (adds) a bit of emotion,” he said.

“I guess there's a few of their guys of the Indigenous background as well, so it's a boost.

“I think it's quite a cool thing for them to be doing. It's great to acknowledge that and we'll certainly respect that.”

Australia’s only current Indigenous Wallaby, Kurtley Beale, has spoken with emotion about the significance of the jersey and Read said he expected the centre to be dangerous on Saturday.

“Kurtley's been playing really well,” he said.

“He's been a standout for them, rediscovered a bit of form he had from a few years ago.

“For us he's a threat, one of many in that backline.”

The Wallabies donned the jersey in their team photo on Friday and captain Michael Hooper said running out in it would be a special occasion.

“(We’re) extremely proud to be wearing this jersey tomorrow night,” he said.

“For certain guys within the team it carries a lot of excitement and a lot of pride and passion there.

“For the team it’s always massive privilege to wear the jersey and this one again is another special an unique opportunity to wear this beautiful jersey tomorrow in a big game at home in Suncorp, we’re all very proud to be in this situation."

Hooper said the side hadn’t discussed the idea of Beale leading the team out on Saturday night, floated by former Wallabies centre Tim Horan earlier this week.

“I haven’t really discussed that yet but I wouldn’t say so, no,” he said.

Australia hosts New Zealand on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.