The Australian Kangaroos and England will wear special jerseys in Sunday’s Four Nations Test, paying tribute the teams that took part in the famous Rorke’s Drift Test played one hundred years ago.
The Kangaroos’ jersey for Sunday’s match, at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, will feature the sky blue of NSW and the maroon of Queensland.
England will wear a commemorative jersey based on those worn by the Northern Union at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 4 July, 1914.
The England jersey is a red and white hooped design and features on its front the names of the Northern Union heroes who defied overwhelming odds to win the game and secure the Ashes.
England triumphed 14-6 on 4 July, 1914, despite having at times just 10 fit players on the field for their third Test in seven days. The moniker was coined after Australian journalists compared the victory, and particularly the heroic performance of English captain Harold Wagstaff, to the rearguard action staged by the British military against a Zulu army in South Africa in 1879.
“It’s always an honour to wear the green and gold but to wear the colours of the original Kangaroos is a real privilege,” Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith said. “We are forever mindful of the future of the Kangaroos but it’s so important to also remember and honour those who played before us.
“The Rorke’s Drift Test is one of the most famous Test matches of all time, so to be able to celebrate it on such a stage, against England at AAMI Park, will be special for me as well as for my teammates.”
England captain Sean O’Loughlin said: “It’s always an honour and a privilege to represent your country but to do so against Australia in a jersey which commemorates such an important event in the sport’s history is going to be even more special.
“All the players and staff are acutely aware of the fantastic tradition of sporting feats between England and Australia and this jersey will bring 100 years of rivalry out of the history books and on to the pitch.
"None of us will need extra incentive on Sunday but the chance to pull on the Rorke’s Drift jersey is one the whole squad is longing to grab with both hands.”
Rabbitohs and Australian fullback Greg Inglis (pictured) and centre Dylan Walker will take on formidable Rabbitohs and England front rowers George Burgess and Thomas Burgess in Sunday’s match in Melbourne.
Coincidentally, this year also marks 100 years since an England touring side first played a Rugby League match in Melbourne.
On August 17, 1914, the touring English team defeated New South Wales 21-15 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 13,000. The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time that £585 was taken at the gate.