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The Cook Cup is a rugby union trophy contested between Australia and England. The cup was established in 1997 when the Wallabies and England contracted to play each other bi-annually for a decade, playing matches on a home and away basis. Since the first two years the format has only been adhered to once (in 2004). In most years, there is only one match and World Cup matches are not counted. The cup is named after Captain James Cook, representing a strong English-Australian connection. The cup, which was designed by Royal Doulton in London, is made from crystal.
The first test between England and Australia was played on 9 January 1909 at Blackheath's Rectory Field in England The Wallabies won the match 9–3. The two nations next met in 1928, at Twickenham, and England won 18–11. Twenty years passed and England and Australia met again at Twickenham in 1948, with Australia winning the affair 11–0. It would then be another decade until the two nations played another test against one another. In 1958, they met again at Twickenham, and England won 9–6.
England and Australia played each other twice during the 1960s, with the first match in Australia in 1963. The Wallabies defeated England 18–9 at Sydney's Sports Ground, and again in 1967 by 11–23 at Twickenham. The nations played each other another four times during the 1970s; with the home team always victorious. England won 20–3 at Twickenham in 1973, Australia won both of the 1975 tour matches 16–9 at the Sydney Cricket Ground and 30–21 at Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane, then England won 23–6 in 1976 at Twickenham.
The two nations would meet six times during the 1980s, the first encounter being in 1982, with England defeating Australia 15–11 at Twickenham. Two years later the Wallabies broke the trend when the magnificent Grand Slam team of 1984 won away from home at Twickenham by 19–3. They were drawn against each other in the 1987 World Cup at Sydney's Concord Oval, with Australia winning 19–6. The nations played 3 times in 1988, with Australia winning at home 22–16 at Ballymore and 28–8 at Concord Oval, and England winning 28–19 at Twickenham.
The sides met three times during the 1990s before the Cook Cup was introduced. The first match was in 1991 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and Australia won 40–15. Later that year, Australia won the final of the 1991 Rugby World Cup 12–6 at Twickenham. The last pre-Cook Cup match was a quarter-final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup played at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. England dramatically won 25–22 with the last kick of the match.
Cook Cup period history
The first Cook Cup match was played at Sydney Football Stadium on 25 June 1997. Australia won the match 25–6. The series was decided through two tests, and with the second match at Twickenham resulting in a 15–15 draw, Australia were crowned champions.
In 1998, Australia ran out record 76–0 winners at Lang Park in Brisbane, playing a severely depleted England side. The Wallabies were captained by John Eales and scored 11 tries. The subsequent meeting at Twickenham in December was a much closer affair, with Australia winning 12–11 thanks to a late Eales penalty. In June 1999 Australia retained the trophy by beating England 22–15 at Stadium Australia.
In 2000, England won the Cook Cup for the first time, beating Australia 22–19 at Twickenham with an injury-time try by Dan Luger. In each of the next two years, the Cup was also decided in a single match at Twickenham, with England winning 21–15 in 2001 and 32–31 in 2002.
England retained the Cup in 2003 with a 25–14 victory at Melbourne's Telstra Dome - their first-ever test victory over Australia in Australia. Later that year, the two nations met in what was one of their most famous encounters, the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final at Stadium Australia, Sydney. Jonny Wilkinson landed a drop goal in extra time that saw England win the Rugby World Cup 20–17.
The 2004 Cook Cup was contested over two matches, Australia winning 51–15 at Brisbane in June and 21–19 at Twickenham in November. England won the Cup back in 2005 with a 26–16 victory at Twickenham. In 2006, the teams played a two-match series in Australia, with the home team winning both games comfortably.
There was no Cook Cup in 2007, owing to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, although the teams did meet again in this competition. In 2008, Australia retained the Cook Cup by winning a single match at Twickenham 28–14. This match formed part of the Autumn Test matches. They repeated the feat in 2009, this time with an 18–9 victory. There were three matches in 2010: first, the teams played a two-match series in Australia in June, winning one match apiece, and then a single test in London in November, which England won. No match was scheduled for 2011, which was a World Cup year.
In 2012, Australia reclaimed the trophy with a 20–14 victory in a one-off test at Twickenham. The result was viewed as something of a surprise, since Australia had come into the match following a 33–6 loss to France.
England regained the Cup in November 2013 with a 20–13 win at Twickenham, and retained it in 2014 with a 26–17 win. There was no Cook Cup match in 2015, although the two teams did meet in the Rugby World Cup in October. In June 2016, England retained the trophy by winning every encounter in a three-match series in Australia, the first-ever such series between the two countries. In December 2016, England retained the cup with a 37–21 victory. In November 2017 England retained the Cup with a 30-6 win, & in November 24 2018 England held the Cup with a 37-18 victory, and set a longest winning streak of six matches in a row for Rugby Internationals between these two Nations. As the 2015 Rugby World Cup Match is not listed as part of the Cook Cup schedule, the winning streak for the Cook Cup is England winning eight consecutive matches from 2013 to 2018.
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- Qantas Wallabies to host England in historic 2016 test series at rugby.com.au, 19 June 2015. Accessesd 30 July 2016
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- Cook Cup on rugby.com.au