A vivid story of the men and women who took a stand when sport mixed with politics
In 1971, when the racially selected all-white Springbok rugby team toured Australia, we became a nation at war with ourselves. There was bloodshed as tens of thousands of anti-Apartheid campaigners clashed with governments, police, and rugby fans — who were given free reign to assault protestors. Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen declared a State of Emergency. Prime minister William McMahon called the Wallabies who refused to play ‘national disgraces’. Barbed wire ringed the great rugby grounds to stop protestors invading the field.
Pitched Battle recreates what became of the most rancorous periods in modern Australian history — a time of courage, pain, faith, fanaticism, and political opportunism — which made heroes of the Wallabies who refused to play, played a key role in the later political careers of Peter Beattie, Meredith Burgmann, and Peter Hain, and ultimately contributed to the abandonment of Apartheid.