The Year in Quotes
'Peace and love. I just don't like c***s'
ESPN Staff
December 26, 2014
Arise, Sir Jonny © Getty Images

You can always rely on sport to serve up some bluff and bluster and in 2014, rugby has served up some corking quotes: from Burgess to Boudjellal, Haskell to Honey Badgers and retirees to Retallick, here's the best of what rugby's been saying, tweeting, thinking and ranting in 2014.

Time to say goodbye

- "Brian, almost single-handedly, has changed the face of Irish rugby." - Paul O'Connell

- "When my generation watched rugby it was Jonah Lomu. For an entire generation Brian is Jonah Lomu." - Jamie Heaslip

Two of Brian O'Driscoll's longest-standing team-mates and pals hail his impact as he bid international rugby goodbye for the final time.

- "A look, some nicknames, some adverts and a little bit of rugby."

French newspaper Midi-Olympique aren't quite as gushing as they reveal what we will remember another retiring recognisable face - Sebastien Chabal - for.

Brian O'Driscoll is held aloft by Leinster team-mates Jimmy Gopperth, Ian Madigan and Cian Healy, Leinster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, RaboDirectPRO12 final, RDS Arena, May 31, 2014
Leinster say goodbye to Brian O'Driscoll © Getty Images

- "It's Sir Jonny"

Toulon team-mate Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe interjects after outgoing fly-half Jonny Wilkinson is introduced to the press as merely "Jonny Wilkinson" after Toulon won the Heineken Cup for the second successive year.

- "I've tried to keep my feet on the ground because otherwise someone is going to realise I'm a bit of a fraud. I've made no secret of the fact that I've been over-supported and given way too much respect. I've been given an easy life compared to others who deserved more and haven't had it."

Humble to the last, Wilkinson says a final au revoir in the press conference that followed.

The big hello

- "What he will be is Sam Burgess: he'll be able to carry, tackle, pass through the line, pass before the line, smash people, be our talisman, be our leader."

One of the year's biggest stories has been the code-hop of one of rugby league's brightest stars, Sam Burgess, to Bath. Amid a whole host of 'will-he? won't he? Should he?' narratives, This piece could easily have been 'Sam Burgess: the year in quotes' - but his new coach Mike Ford's assessment, way back in February, arguably remains the most salient of the lot.

- "No Sam, you can't do that. Don't break my heart."

Not everyone was so happy to see him land in a new code... Burgess's mum Julie explains how she reacted to the news that Big Sam would be leaving her and his brothers in Sydney.

Sam Burgess laughs during his launch as a Bath player, Bath Rugby, Recreation Ground, October 30, 2014
Sam Burgess has been much talked about this year © Getty Images

Around and about

- "We're playing against a team that hate you and want to beat you up or beat you in the game."

England wing Jack Nowell gives his guide to how to lose friends and alienate people (in the Valleys at least) as he spices things up ahead of the Six Nations meeting with Wales at Twickenham.

- "Now we have the impression that yes, he was injured when he signed for Toulon. If this is the case, we haven't ruled out terminating his contract."

Toulon chief Mourad Boudjellal has been Mr Rent-a-Quote this year: here he throws the future of his latest star signing Leigh Halfpenny into doubt.

- "I'm not sure that rocking up on the first day at school with a gold medal around my neck is going to keep me employed."

England's World Cup-winning captain Katy McLean talks about heading back to the day job as a teacher

- "Luckily I've got a face that hides pain well."

Saracens' Jacques Burger after making 28 tackles (in 70 minutes) against Clermont in the 46-6 Heineken Cup semi-final win.

Jacques Burger smiles for the camera, April 2, 2014
This face hides pain © Getty Images

- "They found a body in there and took it out"

Leinster kicking coach Richie Murphy explains why Sean O'Brien's ankle has been a problem for so long.

- "I've already told him as captain that he needs to change his name"

Wasps skipper James Haskell talks about the club's new signing.... James Gaskell

- "If you boo Rhys Priestland, you boo myself, you boo Warren Gatland, you boo Leigh Halfpenny, you boo the Welsh jersey."

Shaun Edwards gives his tuppence worth on the Welsh fans who booed Priestland during the defeat to Australia in November.

- "He's a mercenary, there's no question about that, but he's a terribly gifted sportsman."

Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains cuts to the chase on Sonny Bill Williams' return to the 15-man game.

- "I am just an average rugby player."

Another code hopper, league legend, Benji Marshall provides a pretty frank assessment of his brief foray into the 15-man game.

- "Watching France at the moment is like watching clowns at the circus."

France have had a pretty rotten year. They had a terrible Six Nations, a listless tour of Australia and even a November victory over the Wallabies was balanced out by defeat to Argentina. Jeremy Guscott gets straight to the point about Philippe Saint-André's men.

- "You never want to be the guy who talks it up and then can't back it up, training like Tarzan and playing like Jane."

Haskell again, on England's autumn and his experience of captaincy at Wasps

Courtney Lawes and Brodie Retallick compete for the ball at the lineout, New Zealand v England, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, June 21, 2014
England lock Michael Laws beats New Zealand's Brodie Retallick at the lineout. Errr.... © Getty Images

- "I know a couple…. Michael Laws."

2014 World Player of the Year Brodie Retallick mixes up his English locks and his outspoken former Mayors of Wanganui.

Friends no more

- "Love me or hate me. I don't hate anyone. Peace and love. I just don't like c***s."

Oh Martin Castrogiovanni.

- "I like him. It's just that he doesn't seem to like me!"

Richard Cockerill indulges his right to reply

...and the Honey Badger

- "I crossed the line more than Osama Bin Laden."

Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins has been a quip-a-minute all year but this, after his finest performance of the year produced a hat-trick for Western Force against Waratahs, is the best of the bunch.

- "Last year we were all sizzle and no steak, this year we had a horror start but now we are off like a bride's nightie."

…and then a week later he produced this beauty….

"The journo was as confused as a goldfish with dementia."

On his first interview in Japan

This tough rooster goes off like a cut snake after bagging meat © Getty Images
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