Posted on June 20, 2022

England v Australia Cook Cup Trophy Replaced Due to Indigenous Protests

Ben Coles, The Telegraph, June 16, 2022

The Cook Cup, contested between England and Australia for 25 years, will be replaced during the upcoming Test series between the two sides by a new trophy following Indigenous protests.

The Rugby Football Union and Rugby Australia have agreed to replace the crystal trophy named after the British explorer Captain James Cook.

A statue of Cook in Melbourne was vandalised last year, while another statue of Cook based in Cairns has also recently been removed following opposition from first Australians.

First Nations artist Emma Hollingsworth, in a petition to have the Cairns statue removed, wrote: “Since 1972, the James Cook statue on Sheridan Street has stood as a symbol of colonialism and genocide. It’s a slap in the face to all Indigenous people.

“For us it represents dispossession, forced removal, slavery, genocide, stolen land, and loss of culture – among many other things.”

In its place will be a new trophy named the Ella-Mobbs trophy, which will be unveiled a day before the first Test between England and Australia in Perth next month. The move to replace the Cook Cup was voted for unanimously by the Rugby Australia board, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

England v Australia Cook Cup trophy replaced due to Indigenous protests
Dylan Hartley, England captain in 2016, takes a drink out of the Cook Cup CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
The new trophy has been named after Mark Ella, the former Wallaby international who was only the second Indigenous Australian to captain his country, playing 26 Tests for Australia between 1980 and 1984. Ella was also a team-mate of current England head coach Eddie Jones.

Mobbs was a former Northampton and England wing and captain before the first World War, who was killed in service in Belgium in 1917. Mobbs scored for England in the first ever Test between the two countries back in 1909, but he has been remembered for his wartime efforts, leading the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in three separate battles in France.

England will embark on their three-Test tour of Australia following Sunday’s fixture against the Barbarians at Twickenham. Their last tour of Australia back in 2016 led to a 3-0 series victory under Jones.