Wallabies sing Australian anthem in native language ahead of Tri-Nations draw with Argentina | Australian rugby union team

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In pouring rain at Bankwest Stadium, in the minutes leading up to the Wallabies’ 16-16 Tri-Nations draw with Argentina, an archaic and divisive tradition may have been replaced by one worthy of its time.

At a historic moment for an international sporting event, the Australian national anthem was sung in a local indigenous language.

After Graham Davis King gave the Welcome to Country and the Argentine anthem was played, Olivia Fox, a young singer from Newtown Performing Arts School, began her rendition of Australia on the acoustic guitar.

Before singing the controversial English version, she did so in the language of the Eora nation – the indigenous coastal clans of the region around the city of Sydney.

Each Wallabies player, wearing his First Nations jersey, had learned the words by heart and everyone made it known. It was a moment widely applauded and described in various ways on social media as “tingling”, “classy” and “a huge step forward” for Australian sport.

The exercise was an exercise in inclusiveness, the effect of a strong slap in the face to all the governments and sports organizations which, until that night, had refused to hear such a gesture on the misplaced motive of maintaining the “tradition” .

The NRL, which to its credit has done similar moves before All Star games and Indigenous rounds, recently blamed itself for this attitude with its eyes wide closed when it reneged on its plan to reject the anthem. national before the State of Origin games after the intervention of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

But Rugby Australia was right, and the timing was good enough that the outcome of the night was irrelevant.

It was not, of course, even if the mathematics suggested otherwise. The All Blacks sat beautifully and almost unswervingly at the top of the Tri-Nations table. Barring a 101-point win for the Wallabies on Saturday night, it was a grab for second place with little more than pride on the line.

But pride is important when it comes to international rugby, and coach Dave Rennie had expressed pre-match hope that a win over Argentina in their final test of 2020 could serve as a springboard for 2021. .

The idea, Rennie said, was to turn pressure into points – a key failure in their 15-15 draw against the Pumas a fortnight ago. The first half here has definitely fallen short of his expectations. Possession and territory were with the hosts again, but they didn’t come with ideas for attacking a combat-ready Pumas defense.

Michael Hooper, Wallabies
Michael Hooper is overwhelmed by Wallabies teammates after scoring his late try. Photographie: Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

At the break, they lost 13-6 and without a try against the South Americans in three halves. By this point, Marcos Kremer had been sent to the trash for a dangerous hand-free cleanup against James O’Connor.

It did less damage than Michael Hooper’s yellow card for ramming his left shoulder into Nicolás Sánchez’s face, as Argentina punched emphatically against 14 men, turning a roster of their own 22 into a try of 80. mr.

All discussions during the week had centered on Pablo Matera, the Argentine captain initially left the XV and resigned from his leadership role after the revelation of offensive tweets, only to be reinstated as skipper, but not in the team of the day.

For Pumas coach Mario Ledesma, disciplinary issues were just the “toughest” adversity in a stuff-filled year, and his pre-game observation that his resilient playgroup had “stuck around”. tight ”literally played out on the pitch thanks to a tremendous tackling performance that could have grabbed them the game without Hooper’s 69th-minute attempt and Reece Hodge’s shoe.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto had received a red card nine minutes before for a high shot on Santiago Grondona, but another yellow card at the Pumas took away the shorthand and, with 14 to 14, Hooper took his break and Hodge made the conversion successful. .

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