'You have to put your balls on the line'
July 7, 2013
George North regretted his put his finger up to Will Genia before scoring in the first test © Getty Images
The 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia was full of controversy, drama and heated debate, including accusations of spying, contentious disciplinary decisions and big selection shocks.
The off-field decisions and reaction almost matched the thrilling action on the pitch so here we take a look back at the best quotes from the tour.
"To play the game you have to play on the edge, but unfortunately he's gone to the edge of the cliff and jumped off it."
"I've been on YouTube a few times and watched some clips of him. He was some character, by the sound of things."
"Sorry for the over-reaction brother."
"He is super-competitive and at the end of the day those are the guys you want beside you."
"They create their own stories. It's just a sideshow. What the motivation is, you would have to ask Warren. I don't want to fuel the fire. We don't have a security officer, the Lions do. Maybe that's an indication."
"It's what dreams are made of...He's a superstar, there is no other word for it."
"It'll be a long night when we pick the Test back row."
"Man, how good was Jonathan Davies today?"
"I found myself kissing my Lions jersey the other day as I was packing it up for another flight."
"I have played enough professional and international level games to know what to expect tomorrow and if I felt for one second I wasn't going to be ready or good enough I would have told Rob Howley where to stick it."
"Looking back I feel horrendous for doing it now. I'll have to live with that and take it on the chin."
Lions coach Warren Gatland had the last laugh at the end of a thrilling tour © Getty Images
"Unfortunately, accidents happen in rugby. It's a contact sport but there was no intent or malice from me to do anything. I had no idea that Alun was anywhere near my feet, and that's what I am sticking by. I got a very fair hearing the first time and I expect it to be no different come the second time."
"He's a lucky boy. He knows it himself. Whether it was intentional or not there's only one person who knows that."
"I simply have a problem with the double-jeopardy concept of being tried twice for essentially the same issue. I'll be writing the IRB. In fairness to the IRB they've operated well within the laws as defined, I just think it needs to be reviewed and I would like to see it changed."
"We can still achieve our dream, it's still alive."
"I didn't know how to put him down because I was the one with the ball."
"Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line."
"He's class, isn't he? To have achieved what George has throughout his career, and return to play at the highest level, after such a long break, is a testament to the quality of the man, both as a person, and as a player."
"Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through."
"Gatland has made a terrible mistake - he has gone and picked a team that will play a style of rugby that he wants... which I think is missing what the Lions is about."
"Obviously the changes have occurred because Gatland's panicked a bit."
"The first thing that came into my mind was that Robbie Deans, the Australian coach, must be laughing all the way."
"I worry that the Lions will miss that sort of influence."
"Now all bets are off. It's one game to win it."
"I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of this in terms of feeling vindicated. I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been tough personally. Maybe in a week or two I might get some pleasure out of this, but at the moment there isn't a lot of pleasure because of the amount of criticism that had been personally placed on me."
"I had to put it behind me, but I also used the experience. I didn't want to feel like that again."
The scoreline reflects what we wanted to do for the changing room which is not give up and represent our four countries with pride."
"You don't presume anything in this industry and that decision is made by others, and who knows?"
"The Lions are something that we need to preserve for the modern game, it's special and it has been a privilege for me to experience it."
"Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line"
Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny celebrates his side's series triumph © PA Photos
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
From Burgess to Boudjellal, Haskell to Honey Badgers and retirees to Retallick, here's the Quotes of 2014
It was another bumper year of rugby action in 2014; join us as we take a look back at some of the season's top statistics
Salary caps, Saints, sinners and scrums - Monday Maul looks back at the key talking points from an eventful weekend