Wilkin: Bring back rugby league Ashes

England and St Helens star Jon Wilkin has joined the calls for the rugby league “Ashes” series to be revived.

The Ashes have not been contested since 2003 when Australia beat Great Britain 3-0 and are not part of the upcoming international schedule.

The Rugby Football League have said they will discuss the matter with the Australians this week.

“As a player, the Ashes has so much historical significance that it would be a massive privilege to play for them,” said Wilkin.

“To play against – and beat – Australia in a Test match is something every English sportsman wants to do and to play against them with the Ashes at stake would be the ultimate honour.

“There is so much intense rivalry between England and Australia that it makes a lot of sense to mark the importance of the fixture with a trophy.”

The calls for the series to be revived have grown since England’s 2-1 cricket victory over Australia last month.

Since the last Ashes series the Tri-Nations has been contested, and last season Australia staged the first Rugby League World Cup since 2000.

This season Australia and England will play in the Gillette Four Nations alongside France and World Cup winners New Zealand.

England captain Jamie Peacock believes the fixture between England and Australia in this year’s turning point should see the Ashes title up for grabs.

“Looking at the international calendar for the next few years, there doesn’t seem much room for a three-match Test series,” said Peacock.

“For now I think the starting point should be a one-off Ashes game each year between England and Australia, starting this October with the Four Nations.”

Australia have held the rugby league Ashes since beating Great Britain 2-1 in 1973.

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