Leigh Halfpenny, Gorseinon’s mighty atom, ripped up the record books as he steered the British & Irish Lions to an historic first Test series victory in 16 years.
The Cardiff Blues and Wales full back captured two major individual Lions records as he kicked 21 points in the 41-16 win at the ANZ Stadium and cleaned up on many other records for the Lions in Australia.
The team also set some notable new landmarks, not least ending 16 years of waiting for a 12th series victory in 125 years of touring. So here is the list of new landmarks from the team and the ‘Man of the Series’ after a stunning night in Sydney:
Lions Team Records
79 – Most points scored by the Lions in a series in Australia, beating the 66 scored in 2001
79 – Equalled the most points scored by the Lions in a Test series, matching the 79 scored in four Tests by the 1974 Lions
41 – Most points scored by the Lions in any Test match, adding 10 to previous best of 31 against Australia in 1966
19 – Most points scored by the Lions in the first half of any Test match, adding three to the 1950 tally of 16 against the Wallabies
13 – Most penalties scored by the Lions in a series in Australia, beating the 10 scored in 1989, and equal to the best ever by the Lions in a series in South Africa in 1997
5 – Equalled most penalties scored by Lions in a Test match in Australia, matching the second Test in Melbourne and third Test in 1989
Halfpenny followed up his ‘Player of the Championship’ award at the 2013 RBS 6 Nations by being named ‘Man of the Match’ in the series decider in Sydney and ‘Man of the Series’. No wonder when you consider that he averaged 19 points per game on tour and 16 per Test.
His match day haul of 21 points set a record for a Lion in a Test and his 49 points in the series surpassed the previous best tally by a Lion in a series set by his kicking coach, Neil Jenkins, in 1997. His 13 penalties in the series also matched the record set by Jenkins in South Africa.
He also became the second full back from Gorseinon to set an individual points record in a Test for the Lions. The last time the Lions fielded 10 Welshmen in their side was in Brisbane in 1950 when they won 19-6. On that occasion the great Lewis Jones became the first Lion to go through the scoring card as he netted a record 16 points. This time Halfpenny overtook Jonny Wilkinson and Stephen Jones, who had both scored 20 points in a Test.
His 49 points moved him into fourth place on the all-time Lions Test points scoring list, behind Jonny Wilkinson (67), Gavin Hastings (66) and Stephen Jones (53), and his 13 penalties put him equal third on the all-time Test list for the Lions behind Hastings (20) and Wilkinson (16).
Leigh Halfpenny Records
49 – Most points scored by a Lion in a Test series, beating Neil Jenkins' 41 in 1997. The previous best in Australia was 38 in 1989 by Gavin Hastings
21 – Most points scored by a Lion in a Test, beating Jonny Wilkinson (v Argentina 2005) and Stephen Jones (2nd Test v South Africa 2009)
13 – Equalled the record number of penalties scored by a Lion in a Test series, matching Neil Jenkins in 1997
5 – Equalled the highest number of penalties scored by a Lion in a Test in Australia, matching his second Test haul in Melbourne and Gavin Hastings in the third Test in 1989
His overall goalkicking record on tour was 89% with 40 successes out of 45 attempts at goal.
Leigh Halfpenny's kicking record on tour
P C C P C C C C C C C CX C C C P C P P C C P C P C P PX C P PX P P P P P PX C P P P P P C CX C
21 Cons + 19 Pens = 40/45 = 89%