The Wallaroos will make history against Japan on Tuesday, singing the Australian national anthem in Yugambeh language.
It will mark the first women's national side to sing 'Advance Australia Fair' in a First Nations language, along with the first time done outside of Sydney following the Wallabies' groundbreaking move against Argentina in 2020.
Yugambeh is one the traditional languages of the land located in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, with the game set to be held at Bond University.
These developments come after the Wallaroos announced they would wear the First Nations kit for Tuesday's Test, with fullback Lori Cramer spearheading the push for the anthem.
“I shared the photos of the (First Nations) jersey on my (Instagram) story and one of my mates Niccy Muller messaged me and said ‘these jerseys are deadly’ and I said ‘next time hopefully we can get the anthem happening’, just because something as a team we’ve spoken about for a while, and she was like ‘we can make it happen’,” Cramer explained to Rugby.com.au
“The girls are really excited for it and we’ve had a lot of culture learnings done when we’ve been down here so it’s been a really good camp and I look forward to the future when all this stuff continues.”
The Wallaroos will be supported by the Yugambeh Youth Choir, led by founder and director Candace Kruger.
Cramer, whose family ancestry is Yiman from Taroom in Central Queensland, is one of three First Nations players selected in the team to face Japan, joined by Mahalia Murphy and Madison Schuck in the starting side.
As well as this, Brumbies duo Grace Kemp and Lillyann Mason-Spice produced standout performances in the Barbarians' defeat to the Sakura Fifteen, with Cramer hopeful they can inspire the next generation.
“It’s huge. There’s us five here and the more Rugby grows and the more exposure we get, there’s so many girls and boys out there in communities that are really good footy players and we really need to tap into those communities,” she believes.
“There’s plenty of work to be done but having us here, the exposure the Wallaroos are getting around the jersey, it’s just going to be huge for us.”
Having learnt a lot about her heritage from Rugby, Cramer was hopeful this could further conversations and acceptance around First Nations culture heading forward.
“For me, I didn’t grow up learning any language or much at all about my culture so for me, Rugby has helped be exposed to those things,” she admits.
“I’ve really learnt a lot over the past couple of years, especially with the Queensland Reds in their Indigenous program. I’ve learnt a lot through Rugby and it’s been a great way to learn about my culture.
“Representing your country and singing the anthem is an absolutely highlight because you’re looking up at your family and I really think and am passionate about it being a comfortable process and journey for everybody.
“We’ve got a lot of growth to do in that area in Australia and embracing that culture because it’s the oldest in the world, it’s so beautiful and I think we need to have more conversions and do more learning and that’s on us. It’s beautiful and really exciting all these girls, everyone wants to learn, we’re all studying and trying to learn this anthem and different languages to try and pick up more knowledge on the journey.
“I can’t wait for Tuesday to sing this anthem, wear these jerseys and I’m sure everyone in this team will say the same thing."