The rivalry between the England and Australia national rugby union teams started on 9 January 1909 at Blackheath's Rectory Field in England, during the 1908-09 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, dubbed the 1st Wallabies. The Wallabies won the match 9–3. The two nations next met in 1928, at Twickenham, during the 1927-28 Waratahs tour of the British Isles, France and Canada and England won 18–11. After the 1939-40 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II, twenty years passed before England and Australia next met, again at Twickenham, with Australia winning the 1948 test 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, first in 1963, when the Wallabies defeated England 18–9 at Sydney's Sports Ground, during England’s first tour overseas. They met again in 1967 during the 1966-67 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and France and Australia triumphed 23–11 at Twickenham. The nations played each other another four times during the 1970s; with England winning 20–3 at Twickenham in 1973, Australia winning 16–9 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1975 and again one week later 30–21 at Ballymore during the 1975 England rugby union tour of Australia, and England winning in 1976, 23–6 at Twickenham, as part of the 1975-76 Australia rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and the United States.

The two nations would meet six times during the 1980s, the first encounter was in 1982, during the 1981-82 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland with England defeating Australia 15–11 at Twickenham. Two years later the Wallabies were victorious at Twickenham, winning 19–3 on their way to winning their first and up to now only Grand Slam. The next match was a pool match in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup at Sydney's Concord Oval in 1987, which Australia won 19–6. The nations played three times in 1988: Australia won 22–16 in Brisbane and 28–8 at the Concord Oval, during the 1988 England rugby union tour of Australia and Fiji with England winning the third and final match at Twickenham 28–19.

The sides met three times during the 1990s before the end of the amateur era and the introduction of the Cook Cup. The first match was in 1991 at the Sydney Football Stadium, won 40–15 by Australia. The next match was the 1991 Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham, which the Wallabies won 12–6. with Tony Daly scoring the only try of the game. The last pre-Cook Cup match was a quarter-final tie at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, played at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. England won 25–22, thanks to a last-minute drop goal by Rob Andrew.

Cook Cup

Main article: Cook Cup

The Cook Cup came about when the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) agreed to play each other on a home-and-away basis. The first Cook Cup match was played at Sydney's Aussie Stadium on 25 June 1997. Australia won the match 25–6. The series was however to be decided through two tests, and the second took place at Twickenham in London, this resulted in a 15–15 draw. Since Australia won the first test, they were crowned champions.

In 1998 Australia ran out 76-0 winners at Lang Park in Brisbane. The Wallabies were captained by John Eales, and in total, Australia scored 11 tries against a weakened England side. The subsequent meeting at Twickenham saw England lose by just one point, the score being 12–11. In 1999, the Cook Cup was decided through one match rather than two, as the 1999 Rugby World Cup meant that there was no space in the schedule for a November test match between the countries. Australia defeated England 22–15 at Stadium Australia. In 2000, the Cook Cup was again contested over a single match, due to the 2001 British Lions tour to Australia, and for the first time saw England and Australia meet as reigning champions of their respective hemispheres. The match was played at Twickenham, and England won 22–19 to win the Cook Cup for the first time.

The 2006 match between Australia and England at Telstra Dome.
The 2006 match between Australia and England at Telstra Dome.

The single-test format remained for 2002, and England successfully defended the Cook Cup by beating Australia 32–31 at Twickenham. In 2003, the Cook Cup was again decided over one match, owing to the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The match was played at Melbourne's Telstra Dome, and England won 25–14, marking their first ever victory over Australia on Australian soil. Later that year, England repeated the feat when the two nations met in what is arguably their most famous encounter, at the 2003 World Cup final. 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. The first post-World Cup edition of the challenge saw Australia beat England in Brisbane in June and then again in London in November to reclaim the Cook Cup for the first time since 1999. The 2005 Cook Cup was contested over a single test, which England won 26–16 at Twickenham. In June 2006 the countries played a two-match test series in Australia, with the home team winning both matches to regain the Cup.

The Cook Cup has been contested nearly every year since, with the exception of the World Cup years (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019). Australia retained the cup in 2008, 2009 and the mid-year tests of 2010, before England regained it in the 2010 end-of-year tests. Australia regained the cup in 2012, but since then England have dominated the series, winning it outright in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021; they are currently on an eight-match winning streak, for all Test Matches, and a nine winning streak for the Cook Cup. The match scheduled for Twickenham in November 2020 did not take place, making 2020 the first non-World Cup year this century in which the Cook Cup has not been contested.

Since 1909, England and Australia have played each other 52 times. England have won 26 times, Australia have won 25 times, and one match was drawn.

Summary

Overall

Details Played Won by
Australia
Won by
England
Drawn Australia points England points
In England 29 11 17 1 466 549
In Australia 20 14 6 0 577 330
Neutral venue 3 0 3 0 48 77
Overall 52 25 26 1 1,091 956

Records

Note: Date shown in brackets indicates when the record was last set.

Record Australia England
Longest winning streak 4 (3 Nov 1984 – 5 Nov 1988) 8 (11 Jun 2016 – present)
Largest points for
Home 76 (6 June 1998) 37 (3 December 2016 & 24 November 2018)
Away 33 (3 October 2015) 44 (25 June 2016)
Largest winning margin
Home 76 (6 June 1998) 24 (18 November 2017)
Away 20 (3 October 2015) 24 (19 October 2019)

Results

No. Date Venue Score Winner Competition
1 9 January 1909 Rectory Field, Blackheath 3–9  Australia 1908–09 Australia tour of Britain
2 7 January 1928 Twickenham, London 18–11  England 1927–28 Waratahs tour of the British Isles, France and Canada
3 3 January 1948 Twickenham, London 0–11  Australia 1947–48 Australia tour of Britain, Ireland, France and North America
4 1 February 1958 Twickenham, London 9–6  England 1957–58 Australia tour of Britain, Ireland and France
5 4 June 1963 Sydney Sports Ground, Sydney 18–9  Australia 1963 England tour of Australasia
6 7 January 1967 Twickenham, London 11–23  Australia 1966–67 Australia tour of Britain, Ireland and France
7 17 November 1973 Twickenham, London 20–3  England 1973 Australia tour of Europe
8 24 May 1975 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 16–9  Australia 1975 England tour of Australia
9 31 May 1975 Ballymore, Brisbane 30–21  Australia
10 3 January 1976 Twickenham, London 23–6  England 1975–76 Australia tour of Britain, Ireland and the United States
11 2 January 1982 Twickenham, London 15–11  England 1981–82 Australia tour of Britain and Ireland
12 3 November 1984 Twickenham, London 3–19  Australia 1984 Australia tour of Britain and Ireland
13 23 May 1987 Concord Oval, Sydney 19–6  Australia 1987 Rugby World Cup Pool Stage
14 29 May 1988 Ballymore, Brisbane 22–16  Australia 1988 England tour of Australia and Fiji
15 12 June 1988 Concord Oval, Sydney 28–8  Australia
16 5 November 1988 Twickenham, London 28–19  England 1988 Australia tour of England, Scotland and Italy
17 27 July 1991 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 40–15  Australia 1991 England tour of Australia and Fiji
18 2 November 1991 Twickenham, London 6–12  Australia 1991 Rugby World Cup Final
19 11 June 1995 Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa 25–22  England 1995 Rugby World Cup Quarter-final
20 12 July 1997 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 25–6  Australia 1997 England tour of Argentina and Australia
21 15 November 1997 Twickenham, London 15–15   draw
22 6 June 1998 Lang Park, Brisbane 76–0  Australia 1998 England tour of Australasia and South Africa
23 28 November 1998 Twickenham, London 11–12  Australia
24 26 June 1999 Telstra Stadium, Sydney 22–15  Australia 1999 England tour of Australia
25 18 November 2000 Twickenham, London 22–19  England 2000 Autumn International
26 10 November 2001 Twickenham, London 21–15  England 2001 Autumn International
27 16 November 2002 Twickenham, London 32–31  England 2002 Autumn International
28 21 June 2003 Docklands Stadium, Melbourne 14–25  England 2003 England tour of Australasia
29 22 November 2003 Telstra Stadium, Sydney 17–20  England 2003 Rugby World Cup Final
30 26 June 2004 Lang Park, Brisbane 51–15  Australia 2004 England tour of Australasia
31 27 November 2004 Twickenham, London 19–21  Australia 2004 Autumn International
32 12 November 2005 Twickenham, London 26–16  England 2005 Autumn International
33 11 June 2006 Telstra Stadium, Sydney 34–3  Australia 2006 England tour of Australia
34 17 June 2006 Docklands Stadium, Melbourne 43–18  Australia
35 6 October 2007 Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France 10–12  England 2007 Rugby World Cup Quarter-final
36 15 November 2008 Twickenham, London 14–28  Australia 2008 Autumn International
37 7 November 2009 Twickenham, London 9–18  Australia 2009 Autumn International
38 12 June 2010 Subiaco Oval, Perth 27–17  Australia 2010 England tour of Australasia
39 19 June 2010 Telstra Stadium, Sydney 20–21  England
40 13 November 2010 Twickenham, London 35–18  England 2010 Autumn International
41 17 November 2012 Twickenham, London 14–20  Australia 2012 Autumn International
42 2 November 2013 Twickenham, London 20–13  England 2013 Autumn International
43 29 November 2014 Twickenham, London 26–17  England 2014 Autumn International
44 3 October 2015 Twickenham, London 13–33  Australia 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool Stage
45 11 June 2016 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 28–39  England 2016 England tour of Australia
46 18 June 2016 AAMI Park, Melbourne 7–23  England
47 25 June 2016 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 40–44  England
48 3 December 2016 Twickenham, London 37–21  England 2016 Autumn International
49 18 November 2017 Twickenham, London 30–6  England 2017 Autumn International
50 24 November 2018 Twickenham, London 37–18  England 2018 Autumn International
51 19 October 2019 Ōita Stadium, Ōita, Japan 40–16  England 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter-final
52 13 November 2021 Twickenham, London 32–15  England 2021 Autumn International

List of series

Played Won by
Australia
Won by
England
Drawn
5 3 1 1
Year Australia England Series winner Cook Cup
Australia 1975 2 0  Australia N/A
Australia 1988 2 0  Australia
Australia 2006 2 0  Australia
Australia 2010 1 1   draw
Australia 2016 0 3  England
Australia 2022

References