Rugby’s version of The Ashes, the Cook Cup has been contested since 1997 outside of Rugby World Cups.

It was named after Captain James Cook, the English explorer who first journeyed to Australia in the late 18th century.

England have won the trophy on the last seven occasions it has been played for and lead 13-10 in the overall head-to-head.

It is 10 years since the Cook Cup was last in the Wallabies’ possession but they get an opportunity to end that barren run when they host England this July.

The three-test series begins at the Optus Stadium, Perth on Saturday 2 July. The sides will then travel to Brisbane to play at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 9 July before the series concludes a week later at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on Saturday 16 July.

With Rugby World Cup 2023 not too far away on the horizon, both teams will want to lay down a marker before the big tournament and it should be a highly competitive series with plenty of drama as witnessed in the past.

We take a look back at some classic Cook Cup encounters of the past.

England 11-12 Australia, 28 November, 1998, Twickenham

A little under six months after their ‘Tour of Hell’ and a record 76-0 defeat to Australia, England fought tooth and nail with the team ranked second in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini and were only denied victory by the narrowest of margins.

When Jerry Guscott hurtled over the line to finish off a brilliant move started by Bath team-mate Matt Perry, England looked set for a shock Twickenham victory.

But Australia clinched the Cook Cup four minutes from time thanks to a pressure penalty from captain John Eales, who kicked all his side's points.

England 32-31 Australia, 16 November 2002 at Twickenham Stadium

England recorded their first-ever hat-trick of victories over the then world champions Australia after a scintillating contest.

Jonny Wilkinson converted both of Ben Cohen’s tries and booted six penalties against a Wallabies side that wrestled the initiative from England with scores either side of half-time.

Australia had trailed in the early stages but found themselves 31-19 up approaching the hour mark following a brace of tries from Elton Flatley, one from Wendell Sailor and 16 points from kicker Matt Burke.

However, Wilkinson chipped away at the lead from the tee as England produced a strong performance in the final quarter, culminating in Cohen’s second after a trademark Jason Robinson break.

"Internationals don't get any better than this,” was the verdict of BBC Radio Five Live’s Ian Robertson.

England 19-21 Australia, 27 November, 2004, Twickenham Stadium

A match with many talking points but probably the most notable was cross-coder Henry Paul’s substitution after just 24 minutes.

Andy Robinson made the brave tactical call to bring on Will Greenwood in his place and while England noticeably improved, it did not prevent him from falling to his first defeat in charge of the team.

The Wallabies, assisted by some errant goal-kicking from England, surged into a 12-0 lead with tries by Jeremy Paul and Chris Latham.

A second-half fightback saw England take the lead with tries from Lewis Moody, Josh Lewsey and Mark Cueto. But two late Matt Giteau penalties saw Australia retain the Cook Cup.

Australia 20-21 England, 19 June, 2010, Stadium Australia, Sydney

Giteau scored all of Australia’s points and was all set up to be the hero once again with a brace of tries. But two late penalty misses from the playmaker ultimately cost his side victory.

The first significant win of Martin Johnson’s managerial career was also down to two other ‘firsts’ as well as Giteau’s wayward kicking – maiden test tries for Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton.

In an enthralling encounter, the lead changed hands no less than six times, with Jonny Wilkinson’s penalty, at the same end of the stadium as his Rugby World Cup-winning drop goal, proving to be the decisive blow.

England 14-20 Australia, 17 November, 2012, Twickenham Stadium

A year before England hosted Rugby World Cup 2015, this defeat served as a portent of things to come.

Australia went into the game heavily criticised on the back of a 33-6 defeat by France, but 15 points from the boot of the impressive Berrick Barnes and a first-half try from Nick Cummins secured a precious victory.

All of England’s points had come in the first half, with Manu Tuilagi crossing for a controversial try and Toby Flood kicking three penalties.

Australia 40-44 England, 25 June, 2016, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

A thrill-a-minute third test which produced the highest-ever number of points in defeat for Australia and England’s record score against the Wallabies.

The Wallabies led 18-17 at half-time courtesy of the boot of Bernard Foley, after Dan Cole and Mike Brown had crossed for England, and Foley and Dane Haylett-Petty for the hosts.

The first half had been entertaining enough but the second period went by in a blur as both teams traded blow after blow.

Billy Vunipola scored after the break but the hosts went back in front through Michael Hooper and Israel Folau.

But with Owen Farrell's boot keeping the scoreboard ticking over and Jamie George scoring his first test try, England had enough in reserve to negate Taqele Naiyaravoro’s late score.