Following Rugby Australia’s confirmation earlier this week that the Qantas Wallabies will wear their First Nations jersey twice during their 2020 Tri Nations campaign, Rugby Australia interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke has today stated “Rugby Australia and the Wallabies condemn any form of racism or discrimination and also acknowledge that we are still on the path to reconciliation.
“The First Nations jersey is a strong statement in itself. It has a truly global impact in raising awareness and in recognising the issues facing First Nations people. Rugby Australia and the Wallabies are incredibly proud to wear it, what it means and who it represents.
“Rugby Australia has established the First Nations Rugby committee in partnership with the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team as it continues to investigate more opportunities to expand on community, pathways and high performance initiatives as well as last year’s incredibly successful DreamBigTime Tour.
“I’m really pleased the players and management have come together to speak about this, as they would with other important social issues. It was measured, appropriate and mature and I congratulate the team as they explore more opportunities to recognise issues facing First Nations people and all Australians.”
The First Nations jersey celebrates and recognises Australian Rugby’s First Nations people in its past, present and future, with the design paying tribute to the 14 Indigenous Wallabies who have represented Australia while it also looks forward to the next generation.
The Wallabies will wear the First Nations jersey at ANZ Stadium against New Zealand on Saturday 31st October, in what will be just the second time Australia have worn the jersey on home soil and the first time the Wallabies have worn it in Sydney. Australia will then don the re-designed jersey against Argentina on Saturday 5th December at Bankwest Stadium to close out the 2020 Tri Nations tournament.
Patron of Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team Patron and former Wallaby Gary Ella notes “The Wallabies First Nations jersey is a proud celebration of Aboriginal culture; the longest surviving culture on earth.
“Wearing the jersey is an act of reconciliation and a reminder that Rugby is an inclusive sport for all people to participate in.
“I support the Wallabies in their decision and It’s important that we continue discussions about race and remind ourselves that reconciliation is not just one act but millions of small ones that serves to heal all Australians.”
Designed by Dennis Golding, a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist from Redfern in Sydney, the jersey highlights the Wallabies, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together as one. The Wallabies debuted their First Nations jersey in 2017 when they overcame the All Blacks in a memorable victory at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The team then took the jersey to Twickenham to play England at the home of Rugby before celebrating and recognising Australia’s First Nations’ history at last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan when they played Uruguay.
Qantas Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie advises “there is no doubt that this jersey holds special meaning for the players, staff and wider Rugby community. The jersey is representative of those who have gone before us as much as it represents the new generation of players who will wear it next weekend.
“We’ve put a lot of work into beginning to build the culture of this team and we’ve spoken a lot about the First Nations people of our country.
“People have already seen our boomerang formation against the Haka and wearing the First Nations jersey during this will certainly add an additional layer of meaning to the occasion.”
Image: The Qantas Wallabies will wear their First Nations jersey twice during their 2020 Tri Nations campaign. Courtesy of Rugby Australia
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