Wallabies' Indigenous jersey to make World Cup debut against Uruguay

Mon, 30/09/2019, 05:06 am
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
Iain Payten and Beth Newman wrap up all the fallout from the Wallabies' four-point loss to Wales.

The Wallabies will don an Indigenous-inspired jersey for this weekend's clash with Uruguay and Kurtley Beale says he hopes the addition of the jersey "unites Australians".

It will be just the third time the Wallabies have worn an Indigenous jersey for a Test, having first unveiled the design for a 2017 Bledisloe clash in Brisbane and wearing the strip against England at the end of the 2018 Spring Tour.

That original version was so popular with fans that it sparked the discussion about developing a version for the Rugby World Cup, which came to fruition earlier this year.

Australia unveiled the World Cup version in May this year, a day after releasing its main jersey, and plenty of Australians snapped up the strip when it was released for sale.

As Australia's alternate jersey, the kit is predominantly green with a gold Indigenous design, created by artist Dennis Golding and made to represent the 14 Indigenous men who have played for the Wallabies.

Beale is Australia's only current Indigenous jersey and he said to RUGBY.com.au ahead of the World Cup that he hoped the move to wear the jersey would be a unifying one for Australia.

"It's a great opportunity to wear the Indigenous jersey on the world stage," he said.

"It's showing us representing all Australians, but importantly, the First Nations people.

"It's a great acknowledgement and it's a great show of respect of what this can do for our country, for our society as a whole.

"It's a great symbol that will hopefully unite Australians to get behind and support and encourage all the way to the end.

"That's how powerful it can be and hopefully that's what it will do."

Beale missed the opportunity to wear the strip against England last year, after being stood down for one match by the team's leaders, but will almost certainly be part of the 23 on Saturday in Oita.

Australia never wore its alternate jersey, a predominantly white strip, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup but the special design of this strip meant the team wanted to don the jersey in at least one match of the tournament.

Unlike four years ago, Australia has a separate, grey and lime, captain's run jersey so the Indigenous design will only be worn for matches.

Australia have requested to wear the jersey against Uruguay and also in a potential semi-final, if they progress to the final four, pending a jersey clash with teams including Ireland and South Africa.

Australia takes on Uruguay at Oita Stadium on Saturday October 5, kicking off at 2:15pm local, 3;15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO, the Rugby Xplorer App and Amazon Alexa.

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