BERNARD Foley never met an Aboriginal kid at his Sydney private school so midfield mate Kurtley Beale has opened his eyes to much more than audacious skill as a Wallaby taking aim at the All Blacks.
The greatest measure of the indigenous jersey being worn by the Wallabies is it being embraced by the entire Wallabies playing unit not just Beale.
“To wear the jersey means so much to KB in recognising his culture and it does for the rest of the squad too,” Foley said.
“We are a really multicultural team, this celebrates that identity and for us to recognise Aboriginal culture is pretty special.
“This definitely should become more than a one-off.”
It was after Foley left St Aloysius’ College on Sydney’s lower North Shore that he met Aboriginal flyer Shannon Walker in his sevens days and linked with Beale for the NSW Waratahs.
“I’ve basically learnt about the culture from my close connection to KB, how well-connected the people are and their coming together under the Aboriginal banner,” Foley said.
“I’ve also seen the challenges and obstacles that KB has overcome to be where he is and that’s something I get a thrill out of.”
REAL BEALE: Kurtley belongs with our best
The triangle plays between Beale, Foley and try-happy Israel Folau have a sixth sense to them and a classic to sting the All Blacks would set alight the fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Beale’s change of pace and footwork can fragment the defensive line, something the All Blacks will miss from the sidelined Beauden Barrett.
Heightening the team identity of the Wallabies over the past three years will be one of the unsung legacies of Stephen Moore, playing in front of his home fans for a final time as a Wallaby in his 125th Test.
It is a side meshing players with heritage flowing from Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Ireland and indigenous Australia.
“We’ve got an incredibly diverse playing group from many different backgrounds and we don’t all come from that stereotypical Aussie type of upbringing,” said Moore, who brought an Irish accent to Mount Morgan as a five-year-old.
“We have built a strong team identity and a big part of that has been getting to know each other better, really getting to know the person beside you on the field.”
When the pressure comes on, that bond will shine in defence in scrambling for the player beside you.
Beale and the Wallabies will be playing for everything the jersey stands for.
All Blacks skipper Kieran Read knows the power of the haka not just for Maori but for his entire team. He applauded the indigenous jersey.
“I certainly expect a bit of emotion. It’s quite a cool thing for them to be doing to acknowledge (indigenous culture) and we’ll certainly respect that,” Read said.
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