No more 'canary yellow' - Why Rugby Australia settled on Wallaby gold

A 30-year period of constant chopping and changing is at an end in Australian rugby, with the Wallabies set to return to the famous shade of gold they donned on their way to winning the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

Dave Rennie's side, and the Wallaroos team that contests this year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand - for which the Aussie women have been given the honour of opening the tournament against the hosts - will run out later this year in the famous gold shade following a glitzy dinner in Sydney on Thursday night.

A hand-picked group of Wallabies greats and other key figures in Australian rugby were called upon to decide on the national rugby teams' central colour once and for all, with Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan eventually casting the decisive tie-breaking vote.

"Most of the room, in some way or another, had made a contribution and had a connection to Australian rugby," McLennan told ESPN Friday. "And I was clear that I didn't think any commercial partner should determine the colour of the jersey or the look or the feel, and I don't think it should be the chairman or the CEO determining it - they all change.

"The fans own the team, and then there are some great minds that have served the game; so I thought we can do this constructive, democratic process, and make it fun at the same time, to determine the colour we go with.

"It was like a football draw or a rugby draw, we went quarterfinals, semis, final, and just put some structure around how we would vote for the jersey and it worked a treat - it was hilarious. Everyone had a great time and felt really good about the process and the outcome."

In the end, it came down to a vote between the famous '91 gold jersey and a strip that is held in equal esteem in Australian rugby circles - the 1984 Grand Slam tour.

With the votes tied, McLennan was called upon to split the tiebreaker and the chairman opted for Nick Farr-Jones' outfit over the Andrew Slack-led squad of '84.

But why was the process necessary, particularly when merchandising and the opportunity to purchase a team's new strip each year remains such an attraction for fans of all sports?

"When you lay all the jerseys out, the Wallabies have been incredibly inconsistent," McLennan told ESPN. "And if I reflect on South Africa and New Zealand, their colours are fixed. And I think there's a point to the fact that we've got a rich heritage with the Wallabies as one of the most famous rugby brands in the world, and I don't think you can be going from rich gold to canary yellow.

"We want our young players to connect to our rich heritage, and all great brands are consistent. As I have been saying, you would never tinker with the Tiffany blue.

"So I just think our colours are green and gold, and predominantly gold in colour, and we have plenty of flexibility to have different training kits and Indigenous jerseys and other really interesting merchandise. But when a rugby player, either male or female, runs onto the field representing their country, that the colour shouldn't change."

The creation of the Wallabies jersey will now be turned over to sponsors ASICS, who will no doubt have some new technological advances and other ideas up their sleeve. The colour they have to work with, however, is now non-negotiable.

"[ASICS] were there last night and their head designer did a presentation to the group, and they talked about the way the world's moved on from cotton in the 80s and 90s to where we are now with synthetics," McLennan said.

"The job now is to get as close now to the Wallaby gold from 91, and we'll achieve that, it will be no problem. If we can put a man on the moon we can get the Wallaby gold looking like 91 again."