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7,800 GBP
0 Bid(s)
4,600 GBP
6,000 - 9,000 GBP
Live auction
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A 1908 AUSTRALIA RUGBY UNION JERSEY MATCH-WORN DURING THE WALLABIES INAUGURAL NORTHERN HEMISPHERE TOUR & AS 1908 OLYMPIC WINNERSPale blue with white collar and three buttons, bears embroidered stem of waratah flower above embroidered ‘AUSTRALIA’ which was a distinctive addition to the jersey to indicate the national representative side, interior label for J Pearson, Sydney.Preserved with other important jerseys and caps by Charles Meyrick Pritchard (1882 – 1916) which form a collection entered to this auction by Charlie Pritchard’s great-grandson. In recent years the collection has been archived and exhibited at the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium.Charlie Pritchard did not play against Australia. He was selected for Monmouthshire v Australia to be played in October 1908, however that match was cancelled due to waterlogged pitch. As a Monmouthshire jersey is not present in the Charlie Pritchard collection, it is possible, perhaps likely, that Pritchard sought out an Australia jersey after the announcement that the match was not to be played.In 1908 Australia embarked on their first Northern Hemisphere tour with matches in Britain, France, and America. The development of Rugby Union in Australia at this point was lagging behind The All Blacks, The Springboks, and the Home Nations. They had no official national colours, so a pale-blue jersey was worn as the tour was organised by the New South Wales Rugby Union, represented by pale blue. Neither did they have a self-appointed nickname such was the fashion for touring nations. Australia’s captain Herbert Moran was aghast to hear that the British press had already labelled them ‘The Rabbits’, so a more fitting and less fluffy moniker was quickly approved by the tourists. They have been known as the Wallabies since.Thirty-five tour matches were scheduled with three Tests, one each against Wales, France, and England. The French Test was also cancelled due to bad weather. Due to the ongoing dispute around amateurism, Ireland and Scotland did not extend invitations to the Wallabies. Their objections on this occasion where in relation to the three shillings daily allowance given to each Australia player.As well as ensuring that they had a tour nickname, the Australian tour organisers team felt it necessary to follow in the success of the New Zealand’s Haka and the Springbok’s Zulu-infused battle-cry. So, the Wallabies invented their own war-cry to be performed before most matches. But in contrast to the All Blacks stirring rituals, the Australia’s Aboriginal inspired efforts left many spectators cringing into their overcoats and was viewed sneeringly by the British press. Such theatre became even more surreal in Cardiff before their match against Wales, when Welshman Percy Bush responded to the Australian war-cry by charging onto the pitch brandishing a sword and shield - intended to be an amusing riposte!Few people suggested the team would do well in their British tour. Australia was still finding their feet and it would have been a mighty challenge to follow the PR successes of New Zealand in 1905 and South Africa in 1906. The doubts about the ability of the tourists were confounded by the British press who continuously patronised the emerging rugby nation by reflecting on the teams' first twelve international matches which resulted in only a single win. But against limited expectations, the Australians performed admirably, winning 25 of 31 matches and with some commentators conceding that the team would have achieved better results if they had not picked up so many unlucky injuries including two players breaking legs (one of them while the player was performing touch-judge duties).Of the Test matches, the team lost against Wales, but beat England. These matches were the first ever encounters between an Australian team and their hosts. The Wallabies scored a credible 438 points on tour to 149 against, scoring 104 tries in the process and averaging better than three tries per game with 80 scored by the backs and 24 by the forwards. The 1908 Wallabies were raw, but the sneering press and ridicule may well have been a motivational factor, they played attractive open rugby resulting in many tries scored. It was a brand of running rugby and good sportsmanship that were in the best traditions of the game and for which Australia became synonymous.In the same year as the Wallabies tour, the Olympic Games were being held in London. The Australian team entered the rugby tournament and were the only other team alongside Cornwall representing Great Britain. The interest in the Olympic rugby final was lukewarm with the final being held in the last week of Games that had taken place over six months. Australia had already beaten Cornwall, the British county champions early in the tour. France was expected to contest the medal, but had withdrawn, leaving just Australia and Cornwall to play for gold and silver medals.The match was played on an area alongside the Olympic Games swimming pool which measured 110 yards in length with a long line of netting stretched beside to catch flying balls. Large mattresses were spread along the rim of the pool to prevent injuries to falling players. One day was allocated, to what was called, the Olympic rugby tournament. The Wallabies strode to an easy 32–3 victory and so were crowned Olympic Champions for 1908. And so, the year 1908, against all odds, will be remembered as a very successful year for Australia rugby union. Condition Report:restored tear just under the collar above the badge.There is a hole on the back just unedr the collar
The Charlie Pritchard Rugby Collection
Venue address
17 Llandough Trading Estate
Penarth Road
CF11 8RR
United Kingdom
The Charlie Pritchard Rugby Collection

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Auction dates
Dec 07, 2023 09:30 AM GMT
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EU & UK law states that the artist or artist’s estate are entitled to a royalty known as ‘artist’s resale right’ when any lot created by the artist is sold. We identify these lots with a ‡ symbol. If these laws apply to a lot, you must pay us an extra amount equal to the royalty.

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1. The forename(s) (or asterisks where not known) and surname of the artist indicate in our opinion the work of the artist.
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8. Dimensions are given height before width, are at approximate and to the nearest half an inch.
9. “ANTIQUE” – The word antique is intended to define a TYPE of auction and NOT NECESSARILY the age of the items in it. Our Antique Auctions may contain items up to present-day age.

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Condition Reports
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Please Note:

This is an auction of preowned and antique items.
Many items are of an age or nature which precludes their being in perfect condition and you should expect general wear and tear commensurate with age and use.
We strongly advise you to examine items before you bid.
Condition reports are provided as a goodwill gesture and are our general assessment of damage and restoration. Whilst care is taken in their drafting, they are for guidance only.
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Collection is by appointment only, after payment please call the office 02920 708125. Unfortunately, we cannot permit collections on auction days. 

Packing & Shipping
Please note we do not offer an ‘in-house’ P&P service in our Cardiff saleroom, however we are able to post small items in jiffy type bags only – this is done at the purchaser’s risk and cost (please enquire prior to placing bids)

We suggest contacting our local Mailboxes / 02921 322157 for insured carriage. Successful bidders will be offered the services of Auction Logistics. Further information on the delivery service provided by Auction Logistics is available via the following link : 

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Shipping can be arranged for all small purchased lots between our salerooms in Colwyn Bay and Cardiff (& also to Carmarthen). For furniture lots, there will be a small carriage charge (please enquire prior to placing bids). Please note this service is on an as and when basis.