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What are the Ashes all about?
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Australia's players celebrate victory against Great Britain in 2002
The Aussies haven't lost an Ashes Series since 1970
Rugby league fans awaiting the Ashes Series may be surprised to learn that Australia have won just three more tests than Great Britain.

Although the Aussies have dominated in recent years, it was GB who had the upper hand in the early encounters.

The Park Royal ground in London, then the home of football side Queens Park Rangers, was the unlikely setting for the first Ashes Test on 12 December, 1908.

A crowd of just 2,000 saw the home side, playing under the banner of Northern Union or England, held to a 22-22 draw by the Aussies.

But the hosts won the second Test in Newcastle 15-5 before wrapping up the series with a dour 6-5 win in Birmingham.

Initially, the Australians fared little better on home turf.

One year later they were beaten in Sydney and Brisbane.

It was not until 1911 that the Aussies broke their duck, winning 19-10 in Newcastle on the way to a first series win.

But it was Britain who continued to hold the upper hand until the middle of the last century.

By 1945, GB had won 24 of the 39 Tests between the two sides.

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The early years
Aussie domination

Ashes facts
Australia Test wins: 57
Great Britain Test wins: 54
Draws: 4
Highest score: 1958 - Australia 50-12 GB
Most tries in a match: Four - Jim Leytham (GB) in 1910
Most points in a match: 22 - Michael O'Connor (Aus) in 1986

Ashes schedule
Game one: Wigan's JJB Stadium on 8 November
Game two: Hull's KC Stadium on 15 November
Game three: Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium on 22 November

:: Rugby Football League

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