England will pay a special tribute to the most heroic performance in the history of international Rugby League when they play Australia in the 2014 Four Nations in Melbourne on Sunday.
To mark the centenary of the historic third Test of the 1914 Lions tour, a match that became known as the Rorke’s Drift Test, England will wear commemorative jersey based on those worn by the Northern Union at the Sydney Cricket Ground on July 4, 1914.
The England jersey is a red and white hooped design and features on its front the names of the Northern Union heroes who defied overwhelming odds to win the game and secure the Ashes.
With just nine fit men on the field at times during a match played five days after the second Test, England triumphed 14-6 with a performance which Australian journalists compared to the rearguard action staged by the British military against a Zulu army in South Africa in 1879.
England captain Sean O’Loughlin said: “It’s always an honour and a privilege to represent your country but to do so against Australia in a jersey which commemorates such an important event in the sport’s history is going to be even more special.
“All the players and staff are acutely aware of the fantastic tradition of sporting feats between England and Australia and this jersey will bring 100 years of rivalry out of the history books and on to the pitch.
“None of us will need extra incentive on Sunday but the chance to pull on the Rorke’s Drift jersey is one the whole squad is longing to grab with both hands.”
The jersey has been produced by ISC and is available for sale in limited numbers from Advantage Sports in Hull, Down Under Leisure in Wigan and Lovell Rugby.
England v Australia at AAMI Park, Melbourne, will be broadcast live on BBC Two on Sunday October 2 from 4.30am.