Warburton pays tribute to whole touring party

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton paid tribute to the whole touring party after the class of 2013 were named Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. [more]

Warburton pays tribute to whole touring party

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton paid tribute to the whole touring party after the class of 2013 were named Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Warburton and co became the first side to secure a series victory in 16 years, defeating Australia 2-1 this summer thanks to a crushing 41-16 win in the deciding third Test in Sydney.

In scooping the gong Warren Gatland's side becomes the first rugby team to collect the honour since 2007 when England, who reached the World Cup final, were receipts of the award, four years after they had previously done so, having lifted the Webb Ellis Cup.

They are also the first Lions team to win it since 1997, who were victorious in South Africa, while previous Lions sides to scoop the award include the class of 1971 and the 1974 Invincibles.

"It's not just the 15 guys who take the field in the first or second or third Test, we have a backroom staff of 35 or 40 people, and there are 70 or 80 of us all working towards the same goal, so it's fantastic we could achieve it,” said Warburton.

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“I’d just like to say a massive thank you on behalf of everybody, it was a great achievement and one we’ll all remember."

Gatland, who was also named Coach of the Year at the awards ceremony in Leeds added: "This is a reflection of the people that were involved in two years of meticulous planning and preparation.

"I keep reminding myself that great players make great coaches. Thank you very much."

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