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Australian rugby stars face calls to be kicked off team after not singing the national anthem

Australian rugby stars face calls to be kicked off team after not singing the national anthem

Peter Peters wants the athletes to be removed if they don't want to ‘represent’ their country.

Several Australian rugby league stars are facing swift backlash for not singing the national anthem.

Just before the Kangaroos faced off with Samoa in the Pacific Championships on Saturday (October 14), the anthems of both sides rang out at the stadium.

Fox Sports captured Payne Haas, Kotoni Staggs, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Selwyn Cobbo not belting the song.

As a result, former rugby player Peter Peters called for the athletes to be kicked off the team if they didn’t want to ‘represent’ their country with pride.

Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

“On Saturday we saw a magnificent war dance and anthem (from Samoa). It meant so much to the Samoan team, well led by Junior Paulo,” Peters told Sky Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast Weekend.

“It was very much part of them representing their country. On the other side, you’ve got several Australian players refusing to open their mouths during the national anthem.”

He then demanded that the team’s coach, Mal Mening, reprimand players if they don't want to participate.

“Mal Meninga should be strong enough to say ‘guys, part of playing for Australia is that you sing the national anthem with pride’," he said.

"They do it in rugby – they don’t do many things right in rugby – but the players sing the national anthem.

Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

“If you don’t want to sing it, you can’t be picked, no matter who the player is.

"This has gone on for too long. It’s in our NSW Origin side and I don’t like that either. You talk to the coach before it and if you don’t want to sing the national anthem then you don’t play."

However, this isn’t the first time an Aussie rugby player has snubbed the anthem.

South Sydney star and Indigenous man Cody Walker refused to join the chorus of people singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’ before a State of Origin match in 2019.

"It just brings back so many memories from what's happened and I think everyone in Australia needs to get together and work something out. It doesn't represent myself and my family," Walker said at the time to Fairfax.

"I'm not pushing my views on anyone, it's just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel. I've already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it's just my opinion.''

Walker’s protest is similar to Colin Kaepernick’s, who declined to stand for the US national anthem before NFL games in a stance against police brutality.

Featured Image Credit: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images.

Topics: News, Sport, Australia, Rugby