Australia to wear indigenous jersey against Uruguay, who have gallons of ‘mate’ to drink

An untimely lapse in off-field discipline robbed Kurtley Beale of the chance to wear the Wallabies' indigenous jersey at Twickenham last year but the veteran fullback will don it with pride at the World Cup against Uruguay on Saturday.

Australia will wear the strip at Oita Stadium for the first time at the global showpiece and only the third time ever.

They have also sought permission to wear it in the semi-finals in Japan, should they make it that far.

Aboriginal Australian Beale, along with fellow back Adam Ashley-Cooper, was forced to miss the England test last year after the pair breached team protocols.

Media reports at the times said their omission was due to inviting friends back to Ashley-Cooper’s hotel room after the 9-6 loss to Wales two weeks earlier.

It was a tough pill for Beale to swallow but the 30-year-old said he was glad to finally get his chance to show off the mainly green strip that represents the country’s 700,000 indigenous Australians.

Indigenous athletes are heavily represented in rugby league and Australian Rules football but only 14 have played for the Wallabies in the team’s 120-year history.

Beale is currently the only Aboriginal Australian player in the Wallabies camp.

Australia were edged by Wales 29-25 in their second Pool D clash on Sunday and are looking to bounce back against the much-improved Uruguayans to get their World Cup on firmer footing.

Another Wallaby will have his chance to shine on the global stage after past near-misses when uncapped teenager Jordan Petaia makes his debut on the wing against Uruguay.

The Queensland Reds 19-year-old was a surprise inclusion in the World Cup squad but would have made his test debut last year against Italy had he not suffered an injury in the leadup to the match.

Another hamstring injury in the pre-tournament training camp in New Caledonia dashed his hopes of a debut in the warmup test against Samoa, but he is now set to become Australia’s youngest World Cup player and first test player born this century.

Apart from passion and hard training, Uruguay are fuelling their bid for World Cup credibility with plenty of caffeine as they bond over hot cups of ‘mate’, a traditional South American drink.

The national beverage of Uruguay and popular in Argentina and other parts of the region, mate is brewed in metal flasks from chopped-up yerba mate leaves.

The Uruguayan players have brought plenty with them to Japan, where the ingredients are hard to come by, and they shared a brew after training in Oita on Friday on the eve of their third World Cup pool clash against Australia.

The drink may be having a positive effect, with Uruguay upsetting Pacific power Fiji in their first pool match, the first major shock of the tournament.

Uruguay will bid to record their best result at a World Cup with victory over the Wallabies or Wales in their last pool match on Oct. 13.

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