The Wallabies will wear the First Nations jersey, designed by Dennis Golding, and sing the national anthem in Yugambeh language at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday alongside the Yugambeh Youth Choir.
The Wallabies were the first national side to sing the anthem in First Nations language in 2020 and the first to wear an Indigenous jersey in 2017.
“As a team, we’re extremely proud to be able to celebrate NAIDOC week by wearing our First Nations jersey and singing in Uncle’s (Lloyd McDermott, a former Indigenous Wallaby) language on Saturday night in Brisbane,” said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
“We put a lot of time into understanding who we play for and who we represent and the privilege to play for Australia isn’t lost on us.”
Meanwhile, Kurtley Beale will target a Rugby Championship return for the Wallabies as he battles a hamstring rupture that has kept him off the park for five months.
The 95-Test veteran made a fleeting visit to camp Wallaby on the Gold Coast on Monday, having returned from a two-year club stint with Racing 92 in France last week.
Beale, 33, met with Wallabies medical staff to discuss a rehabilitation plan and also to model this year’s First Nations jersey that will be worn in the second Test against England in Brisbane on Saturday during NAIDOC week celebrations.
He’s no chance of wearing it on a field any time soon though, revealing he’d be pushing for a return more likely against South Africa or New Zealand in September.
“I’m still out injured. I’ll get a program sorted, checking out some scans today and will rip into some training in Sydney and put my best foot forward later in the year,” Beale said.
“I haven’t run in five months. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and wasn’t the best finish at Racing, but I’ll make sure I can put my best foot forward.”
Beale was parachuted back into the Wallabies No.15 jersey in the later stages of last year’s Spring Tour after a glut of backline injuries.
He is no walk-up start at fullback once fit though, even after Tom Banks’ broken arm in Saturday’s first Test victory in Perth.
Andrew Kellaway was impressive after moving from the wing in that win, while Jordan Petaia has also seen minutes at fullback this season and was solid on the wing in the series-opener.
- Story by Murray Wenzel, AAP