‘Can’t erase history’: Captain James Cook removed from Australian rugby trophy

Named in honor of British explorer Captain James Cook, the 25-year-old crystal trophy will be renamed and replaced.

The Wallabies will reportedly no longer compete for the Cook Cup when they face England in Test rugby, with the crystal trophy being rebranded in an effort to better reflect the sport’s history.

Since the dawn of the professional rugby union era, Australia and England have fought over a 25-year-old crystal trophy named after Captain James Cook, the British explorer who discovered Australia in the 18th century.

But as first reported by the Sydney Morning Heraldthe Cook Cup will be replaced by the Ella-Mobbs Trophy ahead of this winter’s three-Test series in Australia.

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The new trophy is named after native Wallabies great Mark Ella, regarded as one of Australia’s greatest flying halves, and English war hero Edgar Mobbs, who represented England in seven tests before being shot down in France in 1917.

Rugby Australia and the RFU have agreed on the change, which will be announced ahead of the first test at Perth Stadium in July.

“Australia and England first played each other in a test match in 1909 in London,” an RFU spokesperson said. The times

“With such an extensive history between them, Rugby Australia and the Rugby Football Union have made the decision that the trophy should better represent the proud rugby histories of both countries.”

Cook has become divisive in recent years – a statue of the British sailor in Melbourne was vandalized on Australia Day in January, with protesters dousing the monument in red paint.

Former Wallaby Glen Ella, Mark’s twin brother, believed the name change was a respectful gesture to First Nations people.

“The majority of the indigenous people wouldn’t want (Cook’s name) on the Cup,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald

“Personally I don’t have a problem, I’m not really worried about it. But to do the right thing for the Aborigines, yes, I understand why they made that call.

“There’s still a lot of fear about that among the elderly, so they’re doing the right thing and doing their best to change the name to something more rugby related, and not carry those connotations.

“I just think they can do a lot more to entice Aboriginal children to play rugby.

“I say this all the time, look at the other codes, AFL and NRL and you see how many great players we have in those codes. We have a few in NSW and the ACT, but that’s just a handful of players. There is more work to be done there.”

Talk about 4BCrugby journalist Georgina Robinson confirmed there was “some discomfort” about Cook’s name being on the trophy.

“You can’t erase history,” she said. “He’s a guy who’s sailed all that way and mapped the east coast of Australia. His contribution will never, ever be erased.

“But Rugby Australia thought there was a better way to honor the rugby history between Australia and England.

“I think it’s fine to move with the times … but there was also a lot of bad, negative consequences for his arrival.”

But the announcement was met with dismay by some commentators, with Sky News presenter Chris Kenny calling the move a “demonstration of cancel culture”.

“Are we trying to write Captain James Cook out of our history?” asked Kenny.

“We have, of course, seen his statue destroyed in the past.

“Tradition is tradition because it sticks.

“You shouldn’t abandon traditional accolades to match the zeitgeist.”

The first test between Australia and England will begin at Perth Stadium on Saturday, July 2, with kick-off scheduled for 7:55 p.m. AEST.

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