13 Of 2013's Best Rugby GIFs

13 Of 2013's Best Rugby GIFs
By Rory McEntee
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2013 has been a strange year for Irish rugby. We had our worst Six Nations campaign in recent memory which led to Deccie getting his P45 and Joe Schmidt taking over as head coach. The provinces enjoyed highs with Leinster winning the Amlin and Rabo Direct while Munster's highlight was winning away to Harlequins in the HC quarter finals. Ulster's season could have been so much better but for a slip up at home to Northampton, which left them a tricky away quarter final to Saracens which they lost. Connacht followed up their decent first season in the Heineken Cup with a home win over former champions Biarritz last October and then a victory away to Toulouse that we will never forget.

The Lions won a series for the first time in 16 years with a strong Irish representation. Warren Gatland is now a close second to Thierry Henry in the Irish sports fans most wanted list. The November tests ended with one emphatic victory, one empathic defeat and one heartbreaking loss. Our loss to New Zealand was soul destroying but has left the national side with plenty to look forward to in 2014.

Provinces

Munster's performance of the year came away to an unbeaten Harlequins in the Heineken Cup quarter finals. They set the tone from the start with hits like this from James Downey.

Sean O'Brien has been devastating form in 2013 in between niggling injuries. In Round One, of this year's Heineken Cup he sent Dan Biggar packing.

Leinster came to Franklins Gardens putting in the performance of theirs season so far, hammering the Premiership side and scoring 6 tries in the process. There were many highlights, our favourite has to be this chap showing you don't even have to run to open up defences.

Ulster got this seasons Heineken Cup off to a winning start against Leicester Tiger in Ravenhill. The pick of the tries was Tommy Bowes catch from a Paddy Jackson cross field kick. They remain unbeaten after four games.

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Six Nations

We had our worst Six Nations in forever and finished fifth. Yet, in the first round we went to the side who would eventually win the tournament and beat them. Try make sense of that. In our victory over Wales in round one, we put in a superb first half performance which included a glorious piece of opportunistic skill from Simon Zebo in the lead up to Cian Healys try. This will be remembered for a long, long time.

Look we're not going to focus on the  Six Nations too long. It was awful and there was nothing worth remembering. Except this awful high five attempt, which was one of only a few slip ups by the Welsh all tournament.

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Summer Tests

The Lions won a series for the first time in 16 years with a nerve wrecking 2-1 victory over the Wallabies. The first two tests were poor in quality but high in drama with both games being settled by missed kicks in the last second. The Lions benefitted from Kurtley Beales poor choice of footwear in Test One in Brisbane, the smile on Paul O'Connells face tells it all. The Lions were very lucky.

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The second test was even worse in quality to the first test. This time it was Leigh Halfpenny's penalty attempt that came up short. One highlight was the Lions' monster George North picking up the Australians' monster Israel Folau and carrying him like a sack of spuds.

Ireland played the USA Eagles in Texas last June. The Eagles gave a big performance in front of a large home crowd and some fans got really really excited coming into the last five minutes with only 3 points in the game. That or he was just delighted Richardt Strauss was going off. Ireland won the game 15-12 and followed that up a week later with a big victory over Canada 40-14.

 

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November Tests

BOD keeping the Samoan defence guessing in Irelands 40-9 victory.

Sean O'Brien with a neat offload leading to Irelands second try against New Zealand.

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Richie McCaw stole a world player of the year title from BOD in 2009, for that we will always begrudge him. Cian Healy put Richie where he belongs, on his backside with this big bosh.

Quade Cooper carving up the Welsh defence twice with sublime offloads that no-one saw coming. Australia won a thrilling game 30-26 to end their season a high.

 

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