Ten games that defined the 2013 Lions
July 7, 2013
George North celebrates his try in the first Test against the Wallabies © Getty Images
The British & Irish Lions claimed their first Test series victory for 16 years as they secured a 2-1 series triumph over Australia with victory in the final Test of a demanding and turbulent ten-match tour.
The Lions suffered just two defeats on tour, suffering a surprise defeat to the Brumbies on the eve of the first Test and losing the second Test to the the Wallabies before roaring back in the decider against Australia in Sydney.
Here we look back on all the matches of the action-packed 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.
The British & Irish Lions overcame the oppressive heat and humidity in Hong Kong to launch their tour with a 59-8 demolition of the Barbarians, with Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert both scoring two tries in a rampant Lions display.
The Lions recorded their highest score of the tour as they hit ground running with a 69-17 victory over the Western Force in their first match on Australian soil with Brian O'Driscoll scoring twice in their eight-try triumph. The Force are criticised for fielding a weakened team while fears grow over an ankle injury to Cian Healy, who was also cleared of biting Brett Sheehan.
A try from Ben Youngs and 17 points from the boot of Owen Farrell helps the Lions overcome their first major scare of the tour as they beat the Reds 22-12 in Brisbane. Luke Morahan was in superb form for the Reds while George North gave a strong hint of fireworks he would produce on tour.
The Lions ran in ten tries as they coasted past the part-timers of a Combined Country XV in Newcastle 64-0 with Stuart Hogg at fly-half among those to impress. Warren Gatland defended the usefulness of the one-side fixture but injuries were starting to mount for the Lions.
A hamstring injury to Jamie Roberts soon overshadowed what a fifth successive win on tour for the Lions. They beat the Waratahs 47-17 with Leigh Halfpenny touching down twice while there were also scores for Tom Croft and Jonathan Davies, who laid down a marker at outside centre which would later help him win selection ahead of Brian O'Driscoll for the final Test against the Wallabies.
The Lions suffered a surprise defeat to the Brumbies © PA Photos
The Lions suffered their first defeat of the tour four days ahead of the first Test with the Wallabies as they went down 14-12 to the Brumbies in Canberra. The make-shift side, which included shock call-up Shane Williams, who had been playing in Japan, and fellow tour replacements Christian Wade, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees and Ryan Grant, became the first Lions side to lose to an Australian provincial side for 42 years.
Kurley Beale missed two late penalty attempts as the Lions held on to strike first in the Test series with the Wallabies with a 23-21 victory in Brisbane. Israel Folau stars for the Wallabies with two well-taken tries but George North scores a sensational individual try for the Lions before their backline finally clicks to send Alex Cuthbert through for a second try. Leigh Halfpenny crucially kicks the two conversions and three penalties and the Wallabies rue a host of injuries and late misses.
In their final midweek match of the tour the Lions powered past the Melbourne Rebels 35-0 with Sean Maitland, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien and Ben Youngs all touching down for the visitors and one try coming via a penalty score. Along with try scorers, the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Richard Hibbard and the second row combo of Richie Gray and Ian Evans enhance their claims for a Test place.
Leigh Halfpenny's last-minute long-range penalty attempt fell short as the Wallabies drew level in the Test series with a 16-15 victory in Melbourne. Halfpenny hit five successful penalties to put the Lions in command but after a second-half onslaught from the Aussies, Adam Ashley-Cooper eventually crashed over in the corner in the 74th minute and Christian Leali'ifano subsequently added the crucial conversion. A hamstring injury to Lions skipper Sam Warburton would rule him out of the deciding third Test.
The Lions claimed a first series victory since for 16 years with a 41-16 victory over Australia in the third Test at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. An awesome scrummaging display set up the victory which was garnished with some fabulous second-half tries from Jonny Sexton, George North and Jamie Roberts, to add to Alex Corbisiero's first-half score. Leigh Halfpenny shone once again and Warren Gatland was indicated for his controversial team selection, which included the axing from the match-day squad of Lions legend Brian O'Driscoll.
© Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery