British & Irish Lions - The tour in quotes
'You have to put your balls on the line'
ESPN Staff
July 7, 2013
The Lions' George North gestures to Australia's Will Genia on his way to a try, Australia v British & Irish Lions, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, June 22, 2013
George North regretted his put his finger up to Will Genia before scoring in the first test © Getty Images
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The 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia was full of controversy, drama and heated debate, including accusations of spying, contentious disciplinary decisions and big selection shocks.

The off-field decisions and reaction almost matched the thrilling action on the pitch so here we take a look back at the best quotes from the tour.

"To play the game you have to play on the edge, but unfortunately he's gone to the edge of the cliff and jumped off it."
- Lions coach Warren Gatland on Northampton's Dylan Hartley who was handed an 11-week ban for abusing referee Wayne Barnes and so missed the tour.

"I've been on YouTube a few times and watched some clips of him. He was some character, by the sound of things."
- Lions fullback Stuart Hogg on his distant relation and Manchester United legend George Best

"Sorry for the over-reaction brother."
- Barbarians hooker Schalk Brits apologises to Lions fly-half and Saracens team-mate Owen Farrell for punching him during their clash in Hong Kong

"He is super-competitive and at the end of the day those are the guys you want beside you."
- Jonny Wilkinson defends under-fire Lions fly-half Owen Farrell whose temperament was questioned following an altercation with Barbarians hooker Schalk Brits

"They create their own stories. It's just a sideshow. What the motivation is, you would have to ask Warren. I don't want to fuel the fire. We don't have a security officer, the Lions do. Maybe that's an indication."
- Australia coach Robbie Deans reacts to suggestions that the Wallabies were spying on the Lions' training.

"It's what dreams are made of...He's a superstar, there is no other word for it."
- Combined Country center Lewis Catt on facing the Lions' Brian O'Driscoll

"It'll be a long night when we pick the Test back row."
- Lions coach Warren Gatland admits he is spoilt for choice in certain positions after the Lions land in Australia

"Man, how good was Jonathan Davies today?"
- Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll heaps praise on his team-mate following their victory over the Waratahs

"I found myself kissing my Lions jersey the other day as I was packing it up for another flight."
- Sam Warburton clearly treasures the first Lions shirt he wore against the Reds

"I have played enough professional and international level games to know what to expect tomorrow and if I felt for one second I wasn't going to be ready or good enough I would have told Rob Howley where to stick it."
- Winger Shane Williams is confident he will be able to hold his own on his return to a Lions shirt against the Brumbies

"Looking back I feel horrendous for doing it now. I'll have to live with that and take it on the chin."
- Lions winger George North holds his hands up and apologises for his finger-pointing gesture at Will Genia during the win over Australia

Lions coach Warren Gatland raises a smile in training, British & Irish Lions training session, Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane, June 20, 2013
Lions coach Warren Gatland had the last laugh at the end of a thrilling tour © Getty Images

"Unfortunately, accidents happen in rugby. It's a contact sport but there was no intent or malice from me to do anything. I had no idea that Alun was anywhere near my feet, and that's what I am sticking by. I got a very fair hearing the first time and I expect it to be no different come the second time."
- Australia skipper James Horwill insists he did not deliberately stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones during the first Test

"He's a lucky boy. He knows it himself. Whether it was intentional or not there's only one person who knows that."
- Brian O'Driscoll reacts to James Horwill being cleared of stamping

"I simply have a problem with the double-jeopardy concept of being tried twice for essentially the same issue. I'll be writing the IRB. In fairness to the IRB they've operated well within the laws as defined, I just think it needs to be reviewed and I would like to see it changed."
- Australia Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver is angry to see James Horwill hauled infront of a judiciary panel for a second time for the same incident

"We can still achieve our dream, it's still alive."
- Lions captain Sam Warburton refuses to dwell on his side's second Test defeat to Australia

"I didn't know how to put him down because I was the one with the ball."
- George North on his headline-making lift of Israel Folau duyring the second Lions Test

"Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line."
- Lions coach Warren Gatland finds vindication after his decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll from the final Test with Australia

"He's class, isn't he? To have achieved what George has throughout his career, and return to play at the highest level, after such a long break, is a testament to the quality of the man, both as a person, and as a player."
- Wallabies coach Robbie Deans welcomes the return of veteran flanker George Smith for the final Test.

"Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through."
- Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll reacts to being dropped by throwing his support behind the team.

"Gatland has made a terrible mistake - he has gone and picked a team that will play a style of rugby that he wants... which I think is missing what the Lions is about."
- Former Ireland and Lions hooker Keith Wood reacts to Warren Gatland's decision to drop O'Driscoll

"Obviously the changes have occurred because Gatland's panicked a bit."
- David Campese on Warren Gatland's team selection for the final Test

"The first thing that came into my mind was that Robbie Deans, the Australian coach, must be laughing all the way."
- Lions legend Willie John McBride slams the axing of Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll

"I worry that the Lions will miss that sort of influence."
Former Lions player and coach Sir Ian McGeechan airs his doubts about the decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll for the third Test

"Now all bets are off. It's one game to win it."
- Australia skipper James Horwill looks ahead to the final Test in Sydney

"I haven't taken a lot of pleasure out of this in terms of feeling vindicated. I haven't enjoyed the last 72 hours, it's been tough personally. Maybe in a week or two I might get some pleasure out of this, but at the moment there isn't a lot of pleasure because of the amount of criticism that had been personally placed on me."
- Warren Gatland struggles to savour the Lions' winning series after enduring intense criticism for dropping Brian O'Driscoll for the final Test

"I had to put it behind me, but I also used the experience. I didn't want to feel like that again."
- Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny reveals he used the disappointment of the second Test to motivate himself for the decider.

The scoreline reflects what we wanted to do for the changing room which is not give up and represent our four countries with pride."
- Alun-Wyn Jones skippering the Lions to victory in the final Test.

"You don't presume anything in this industry and that decision is made by others, and who knows?"
- Australia coach Robbie Deans appears resigned to his fate following his side's series defeat

"The Lions are something that we need to preserve for the modern game, it's special and it has been a privilege for me to experience it."
- Warren Gatland reflects on his experience of leading the Lions in their first series triumph since 1997

"Sometimes you have to put your balls on the line"
- Lions coach Warren Gatland finds vindication after his decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll from the final Test with Australia

Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny celebrates his side's series triumph © PA Photos
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