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Top 5: British successes in 2013 (5)

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2. British and Irish Lions win in Australia

When the four British and Irish rugby union teams join up and form the Lions every four years, the feeling is that the best Britain has should be more than enough to take on the great rugby nations in the Southern hemisphere.

Yet heading into the 2013 tour of Australia, no Lions side had won a test series since 1997 in South Africa. The 2009 squad had come close again against the Proteas but failed at the final hurdle.

Yet heading into a tour against an Australian side not quite the force it was a decade ago expectations were high that finally the 16-year wait for a series success would be over.

Indeed, in the build-up it was looking very positive as the Lions were unbeaten right up until the final warm-up game against the Brumbies, though the team put out by coach Warren Gatland was a second string side as most of the expected first XV were rested for the first test four days later.

The first test was a bruising encounter as several Australian players suffered injuries at half time. The boot of Leigh Halfpenny had kept the Lions ahead at 13-12. Into the second half and a second try of the game stretched the Lions lead out to eight.

Three penalties for Australia and one for the Lions set the score at 23-21 to the tourists but the Wallabies had two late chances to win but the kicks at goal were both missed by Kurtley Beale including during the final moment of the game.

The second test in Melbourne was equally close but in a tense encounter a try for Adam Ashley-Cooper and three penalties were enough for Australia to level the series winning 16-15.

Much like Beale in the first match, Lions kicker Leigh Halfpenny saw a final kick at goal come up short, that would mean it could come down to a decider at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

After two incredibly close matches the final game was rather one-sided as the Lions romped to a 41-16 win, four tries and fivr penalties saw Australia's resistance finally broken and the Lions had their first series win since 1997.

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Topics:
Cricket
England cricket
The Ashes
Football

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