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The Ashes (rugby league)

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Covid-19
Sport  Rugby league
Number of teams  2
Most titles  Australia (20 titles)
Inaugural season  1908–09
Holders  Australia (2003)
Countries  Australia  United Kingdom

The Ashes series, similar to the cricket series of the same name, was a best-of-three series of test matches between the British and Australian national rugby league football teams. It was contested 39 times from 1908 until 2003 largely with hosting rights alternating between the two countries. From 1973 Australia won thirteen consecutive Ashes series.

Contents

INTERNATIONAL
RUGBY LEAGUE FOOTBALL
Australia v England
(THE ASHES)
Presented by
CITY TATTERSALLS CLUB

History

Several sports and events adopted cricket's Ashes "concept" and by the beginning of the 20th century it was an "accepted principle" that a series had to have at least three matches to be a true test of which side was the best.

On 27 September 1908, the first touring Australian rugby league side arrived in England, and played their first ever Test against the England side in December in London. Two further Tests were played. The Australians suggested that the series should be called "The Ashes" and the name stuck.

The format used is that three matches are played, with the winning team being decided on the basis of most matches won. If one team has already won two matches the series is already won, however the final game is usually still played. In the 1929–30 Ashes series both the teams won one game and one game was drawn; it was therefore decided to hold a further match to determine the outcome.

The British side has not always been termed Great Britain; in the past the titles "Northern Union XIII", "England" and "The Lions" have also been used. Similarly, in the early days until the mid-1920s the Australian sides had sometimes included New Zealand players so were styled "Australasia".

Since 1964 the Harry Sunderland Medal is awarded to the best Australian player in a home Ashes series. Since 1970, the series has been very one sided, Australia having won 13 consecutive ashes.

The Ashes had not been contested since 2003 when, in 2009 with the prospect of not contesting them until after the 2013 World Cup, Britain's Rugby Football League (RFL) challenged the Australian Rugby League (ARL) to play the round-robin stage match of the Four Nations tournament with the Ashes at stake. The one-off game would be a departure from the usual three-match series, additionally the contest would be between England, rather than Great Britain, and Australia. The ARL initially agreed to the proposal but later, facing hostility from former Ashes players and fans who thought the proposals devalued the Ashes, the two governing bodies decided not to proceed.

Trophy

In 1928, the City Tattersalls Club in Sydney, Australia donated a trophy to be the prize, the "Ashes Cup". The Cup's inscription reads:

INTERNATIONAL
RUGBY LEAGUE FOOTBALL
Australia v England
(THE ASHES)
Presented by
CITY TATTERSALLS CLUB

The Cup was first presented in 1928 to The Lions, after they defeated Australia 2–1 in the series. Following the 1933–34 series, in which England retained the Cup for the third time since first being presented with it, the Cup disappeared in the United Kingdom. The Cup was found in October 1945. During the period it was missing, the Lions had won each series and the Cup's disappearance was not widely known. The Australian team first won the Cup in 1950.

In preparation for the Legends of League exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in 2008, marking a Centenary of Rugby League in Australia, the Ashes Cup underwent preservation work.

Highest Attendance

  • Australia - 70,204 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, 6 June 1932
  • Great Britain - 57,034 at Wembley Stadium, 22 October 1994
  • Highest Score

  • Australia def. Great Britain 50-12 at Station Road, Swinton, 9 November 1963
  • Great Britain def. Australia 40-17 at Sydney Cricket Ground, 19 July 1958
  • Biggest Win

  • 38 points - Australia def. Great Britain 50-12 at Station Road, Swinton, 9 November 1963
  • 23 points - Great Britain def. Australia 40-17 at Sydney Cricket Ground, 19 July 1958
    23 points - Great Britain def. Australia 33-10 at Princes Park, Melbourne, 26 June 1992
  • Most Tries in an Ashes Test

  • Australia
    3 - Reg Gasnier at Station Road, Swinton, 17 October 1959
    3 - Reg Gasnier at Wembley Stadium, 16 October 1963
    3 - Ken Irvine at Station Road, Swinton, 9 November 1963
    3 - Ken Irvine at Sydney Cricket Ground, 23 July 1966
    3 - Gene Miles at Old Trafford, 25 October 1986
    3 - Michael O'Connor at Old Trafford, 25 October 1986
  • Great Britain
    3 - Jim Devereux at Park Royal Ground, London, 12 December 1908
  • Most Points in an Ashes Test

  • Australia
    22 (3 tries, 5 goals) by Michael O'Connor at Old Trafford, 25 October 1986
  • Great Britain
    20 (10 goals) by Lewis Jones at Brisbane Cricket Ground, 9 July 1954
    20 (2 tries, 6 goals, 1 field goal) - Roger Millward at Sydney Cricket Ground, 20 June 1970
  • References

    The Ashes (rugby league) Wikipedia


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