Australian rugby commentator Gordon Bray has apologised after describing a Wallabies player's 'golliwog haircut' during last night's Bledisloe Cup encounter in Sydney.

The veteran caller used the racially insensitive when referring to hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau who has had a recent haircut, getting rid of his afro style.

Bray told the Sydney Morning Herald that he was sorry for the comment.

"It was made in an affectionate manner and it was not intended to be offensive in any way," he told the SMH.


"It was something I said on the spur of the moment. I almost didn't recognise him with the short back and sides do and the inference was that it had been very fuzzy. Probably if I'd said what happened to his 'fuzzy-wuzzy' haircut that would have been more appropriate.

"I know the guy, I have great respect for him. When he played at Suncorp Stadium [last year] he had that massive hair and so I was saying it was hard to recognise him with the new haircut."

The gollywog term started in 1895, as brave and lovable characters in children's books by Florence Kate Upton, before soft-toy versions were made. They also featured in the Noddy books of Enid Blyton.

But by the 1940s the toys began to be associated with the racial insult "wog" and by the 1960s books - many showing golliwogs as villains - were being withdrawn from libraries because they were seen as racially insensitive.

Bledisloe Cup 2018:
Match report: All Blacks shine in second half to stomp Wallabies
Paul: Retallick steals the show with special performance
McKendry: All Blacks keeps asking the hard questions against Wallabies
Player ratings - All Blacks v Wallabies