Sports

Wallabies anthem success may force change

An Indigenous version of the national anthem could become a mainstay at Australian sporting events after Olivia Fox’s stirring rendition before the Wallabies’ year-ending Test match captured the hearts of the country.

The Newtown High School of the Performing Arts student sent social media into overdrive after singing the anthem in Eora language, along with all 23 Wallabies who revealed they rehearsed all week in the lead-up.

They also bellowed out Advance Australia Fair in English on Saturday night.

Australian captain Michael Hooper, who had to settle for a second straight draw with Argentina, said the Wallabies were proud to become the first sporting team to sing the Indigenous version.

Rugby Australia instigated the move to coincide with the side’s wearing of the First Nations jersey.

“We were practising (the Eora version) during the week and our guys were – there was never a question – proud to have the opportunity to do it,” Hooper said.

“I think it sounded pretty good, too. Wearing an Indigenous jersey and singing that in Aboriginal and then English, it was great and it was great to be a part of.”

Fox has previously delivered the Indigenous version of the anthem at Randwick’s Sydney club rugby matches and is fast becoming a national icon.

Australian netballer Kim Green claimed the performance was “the BEST Australian sporting moment I have ever seen,” while former Wallabies star Matt Giteau – married to AFL star Lance Franklin’s sister Bianca – endorsed Rugby Australia’s groundbreaking initiative.

“Special moment in Australian sport – well done,” Giteau tweeted.

Calls are already growing for the Indigenous version to become permanent, with Rugby Australia understood to be considering the move following Saturday night’s rousing success.

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