Wallabies to wear First Nations jersey and sing in Yugambeh language at Suncorp

Sun, Jul 3, 2022, 11:55 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Pete Samu wearing the 2022 First Nations jersey. Photo: Getty Images
Pete Samu wearing the 2022 First Nations jersey. Photo: Getty Images

The Wallabies will recognise NAIDOC week by wearing the First Nations jersey and singing the national anthem in Yugambeh language against England on Saturday night in Brisbane.

It will be the first time the side has worn the 2022 iteration of the First Nations jersey, which is predominantly gold in colour with Kamilaroi and Gamilaraay man Dennis Golding’s design proudly across the strip.

The side will also sing the Australian national anthem in Yugambeh language at Suncorp Stadium, alongside the Yugambeh Youth Choir.

By singing the anthem in Yugambeh language, the side will be paying homage to Uncle Lloyd McDermott, the first Wallaby to identify as a First Nations man.

Wallaby number 470, McDermott was a proud Mununjali and Wakka Wakka man, with the side to sing in the language from his country around the Tweed River basin.

Uncle has left a lasting legacy on Australian Rugby and during South Africa's apartheid era he made a principled decision to withdraw from the team rather than play as an honorary white in the South African tour.

Off the field, Uncle formed the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team (LMRDT) with a goal of introducing Rugby Union to more young First Nations people across Australia.

Members of the current squad will spend time at Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre today, with Chair of Rugby Australia's First Nations Committee Sonja Stewart to address the group during the week.

The Wallabies became the first national side to sing the anthem in First Nations language in 2020, when Olivia Fox sang in Eora language at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta.

They were also the first national team to wear a First Nations jersey, when they ran out at Suncorp Stadium in Dennis Golding’s design in 2017.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “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 language on Saturday night in Brisbane.”

“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.”

Chair of First Nations Rugby Committee Sonja Stewart said: “The theme of NAIDOC Week in 2022 is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! and it will be fantastic to see the Wallabies and many clubs across the country embrace that this coming Saturday.”

Phillipa McDermott said: “It is amazing to see my Dad recognised in this way, his impact on Rugby was profound and continues today through Lloydies. This means so much to our family and Dad would be honoured.”

eToro England Series

Game One: Wallabies 30 def England 28, Saturday 2 July, at Optus Stadium, Perth

Game Two: Wallabies v England, Saturday 9 July, 7:55pm AEST at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Game Three: Wallabies v England, Saturday 16 July, 7:55pm AEST at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney