British & Irish Lions History: Since 1888

British & Irish Lions History: Since 1888

2013 – Lions triumphant in Australia

The British & Irish Lions secured their first series victory in 16 years in the most emphatic fashion in Sydney as they defeated Australia 2-1 in 2013.

2013 – Gatland leads Lions to success

Lions coaching team 2013

Warren Gatland was the man charged with overseeing the Tour, the second New Zealander to coach the Lions, after Graham Henry led the party in 2001.

Gatland picks his squad

Gatland, who had been part of Sir Ian McGeechan’s coaching team for the 2009 Tour to South Africa and was joined by four assistant coaches in Rob Howley (attack), Graham Rowntree (forwards), Andy Farrell (defence) and Neil Jenkins (kicking).

The head coach named a strong Welsh contingent in his touring party, in total 16 Welshmen were in the squad, with England contributing 14, Ireland 12 and four Scots – captain was Sam Warburton.

In all the ten-match Tour was a resounding success as the Lions won the Test series 2-1, while also winning six of their seven provincial matches.

Warm-up successes

The British & Irish Lions arrived in Australia and won their first four provincial matches, starting with a thumping 69-17 win over the Western Force before a hard-fought 22-12 win over the Reds and a 64-0 success over the NSW-Queensland Country XV.

Leigh Halfpenny’s 30-point haul helped the Lions to a 47-17 win over the Waratahs before a 14-12 loss to the Brumbies in their final warm-up match.

Warren Gatland team 2013

The first and second Tests

The first Test in Brisbane will live long in the memory for everyone involved as George North stole the headlines with a spectacular solo try.

After scrum-half Will Genia’s kick picked out Israel Folau for the game’s opening try, Halfpenny got the Lions on the scoreboard with successful penalty.

North then stole the show with his exquisite try and you can read more on his exploits in this Test by clicking here.

Folau’s second made it 13-12 to The Lions at half-time but when Alex Cuthbert came off his right wing and was found by Jonathan Sexton’s pass he dotted down to extend the visitors lead.

The Lions’ second try made it 20-12 only for the Wallabies to mount a fierce comeback through Kurtley Beale.

And the Australian had a kick to win the first Test in time added on – only to slip on the turf.

An impressive midweek victory over the Melbourne Rebels maintained the Lions’ momentum but in the second Test it was Halfpenny’s last-gasp kick from halfway that failed to bisect the posts and Australia held on for a 16-15 win.

2013 Leigh Halfpenny last min pen second Test

The Third Test

With skipper Warburton ruled out of the third Test through injury, he was replaced as captain by lock Alun Wyn Jones with the Lions delivering in style in Sydney.

After two nip-and-tuck encounters in the third and decisive clash was a mammoth and historic victory for the tourists after a second-half blitz sealed a 41-16 success.

Alex Corbisiero, following in the footsteps of great injury replacements Jeremy Guscott (1989) and Martin Johnson (1993), got the Lions off to the perfect start when he burrowed over with two minutes barely on the clock.

The ever-reliable boot of Halfpenny, one of a record-equalling ten Welshmen in the starting XV, and the dominance of the Lions forwards kept the scoreboard ticking for the visitors who led 19-10 at the break.

2013 George North try third Test

Then came an incredible second-half blitz as Sexton and Tommy Bowe combined to send Jonathan Davies through a gap before Halfpenny fed Sexton for the Lions second try.

Halfpenny then sent North over the line and Jamie Roberts added an incredible fourth as Gatland’s men ran up a record Test points tally.

Man of the series Halfpenny landed eight kicks on his way to a 21-point individual tally, overtaking the 20 point record for an individual Lions in a Test shared by Jonny Wilkinson (2005 v Argentina) and Stephen Jones (2009 v South Africa).

The Welshmen’s total points haul of 49 also saw him overtake Neil Jenkins’ record during a Lions Tour by eight points.

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