Wallabies to wear indigenous-themed jersey

Sydney (AFP) –


The Wallabies will wear an indigenous-themed jersey for the first time when they face New Zealand later this year to commemorate the role Aborigines have played in rugby.

The shirt, designed by a Sydney artist and unveiled Monday by Kurtley Beale, symbolises indigenous and non-indigenous communities coming together as one.

"As a current indigenous Wallaby, I hope that by wearing this jersey I can do my family and my people proud," said Beale.

"There are heaps of young indigenous kids out there who are really talented at rugby, and I hope this jersey helps inspire them to strive to reach their goals in rugby and in life."

Fourteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players have donned the Wallabies shirt, including the likes of Mark Ella, Lloyd Walker, Wendell Sailor, and Saia Faingaa.

"Having an indigenous jersey is a real statement for Australian rugby and shows what we stand for," said Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver.

"We are committed to making rugby a game for all, and a key part of this includes making rugby more accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

It will be worn by the Australian team when they face the All Blacks in Brisbane on October 21 in the final 2017 Bledisloe Cup match.