Lockyer lukewarm on one-off Ashes idea - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer lukewarm on one-off Ashes idea

By John Marsh 03/09/2009 04:10:31 PM Comments (0)

Australia captain Darren Lockyer has expressed reservations about an English proposal to put rugby league's Ashes on the line in a one-off game next month.

Richard Lewis, executive chairman of the Rugby Football League, again urged the ARL to decide in favour of the trophy being put up for grabs at Wigan on October 31 during the Four Nations series .

The two nations have met in Tri Nations encounters in 2004, 2005 and 2006 as well as in the Rugby League World Cup last year, but the Ashes have not been contested since 2003.

The Kangaroos won a thrilling series that year 3-0 in three closely contested matches, memorable for Adrian Morley's sending off just 12 seconds into the opening Test for a high tackle on Robbie Kearns.

The next Ashes series is unlikely to take place until 2012 and this led Lewis to make the call for the one-off game in a statement ahead of a board meeting in Australia to discuss the issue.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr has said he has no problem with the idea but Lockyer is not so keen.

"I think there needs to be more than one game to decide the Ashes," Lockyer told AAP.

"I think the Ashes being up for grabs is a good thing. As a kid I grew up watching Kangaroo tours.

"It's a real balancing act. There's an argument to say one game's not enough but on top of what our commitments are, club games and Origin.

"Maybe the Ashes (should) be decided every two years ... a Four Nations (series) every two years."

Former Australia captains are split on the issue.

Brad Fittler, Max Krilich and Gorden Tallis are all in favour of the trophy, currently held at the National Museum in Canberra, being played for.

"There is so much history and tradition surrounding the Ashes Trophy that it makes no sense whatsoever to have it gathering dust in a cabinet year after year," Lewis said.

"The Ashes have brought out the best in generations of players since they were first played for in 1908 and it would be fantastic if the current England and Australia players were given the same opportunity.

"I am aware that some people have reservations about playing for the Ashes Trophy in a one-off fixture, especially within the Gillette Four Nations, but the sport has more to gain than it stands to lose from bringing the Ashes back.

"When England play Scotland in Rugby Union they do so for the Calcutta Cup and there is no suggestion that it detracts from the significance of the Six Nations Championship.

"There are few names in any sport that are more evocative than the Ashes and I can understand why some people in Australia may be reluctant to let them go, especially given what's happened recently in cricket.

"However I would urge the ARL to have the courage of their convictions and put the Ashes back on the international calendar."

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