Defining Moments of 2013

 Jan 03,2014
Written by: Editor

SA Rugby looks back at the moments which - for better or for worse - made 2013 a year to remember.

11 January: Stormers and Springboks wing Bryan Habana confirms that he will join Toulon at the end of Super Rugby. The 2007 World Cup-winner signs a three-year deal with the Top 14 outfit.

28 January: All Blacks wing Zac Guildford's drinking habits get him into the headlines again. After assaulting someone at a bar and at a party, Guildford announces that he will leave the Crusaders for an "indefinite time" to undertake an intensive treatment programme for his drinking.

11 February:The Blitzbokke beat series leaders New Zealand 40-21 in the Cup Final of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.

22 February: Super Rugby's newest franchise, the Southern Kings, got their campaign off to a fine start with a 22-10 victory over the Western Force in Port Elizabeth. The Bulls and Sharks also register victories, on the same weekend, over the Stormers and Cheetahs respectively.

14 March: Zac Guildford returns to training with the Crusaders after more than a month of rehabilitation. He declares with great humility that he is an "alcoholic". Guildford's admission and the steps he has taken to battle his addiction were enough to convince the New Zealand Rugby Union not to terminate his contract.

19 March: Reds director of rugby Ewen McKenzie announces that he will be leaving his job at the Brisbane-based franchise at the end of the season after three full seasons and a Super Rugby title.

31 March: South Africa's Sevens team produce an exceptional display of pace to rally back from 12-0 down to beat HSBC World Series champions New Zealand 24-19 in the final of the Tokyo Sevens.

6 April: Cheetahs fly-half Burton Francis kicks an extra time penalty to secure a 26-24 victory for his side over the Stormers in Bloemfontein. The result is the Cheetahs' fifth consecutive victory this season and brings an end to a seven match losing streak to the Stormers in Super Rugby.

6 April: UP-Tuks retain their Varsity Cup title by storming to a comprehensive 44-5 victory over Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.

30 April: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland names a 37-man squad to tour Australia, with Wales openside flanker Sam Warburton confirmed as captain.

5 May: The Blitzbokke win the their second consecutive tournament in the HSBC Sevens World Series, defeating the All Black Sevens team 28-21 in the final of the Glasgow Sevens.

16 May: Richie McCaw announces that he is back in training after going on a sabbatical since the end of 2012. He doesn't given an exact date on his return to competition.

17 May: The Golden Lions convincingly beat the Pumas 42-28 in the final of the Vodacom Cup in Nelspruit on Friday to become the most successful team in the history of the competition.

11 June: Wallabies coach Robbie Deans announces his 31-man squad for the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions. The biggest surprise is the exclusion of Reds fly-half Quade Cooper.

12 June: New Sharks CEO John Smit announces coach John Plumtree will be relieved of his duties when his contract expires in October. However, two weeks later the Durban-based franchise confirm that Plumtree has left his head coaching with immediate effect.

18 June: The Brumbies beat the British and Irish Lions 14-12 in Canberra and become the first provincial team to beat the famous tourists since Northern Transvaal in 1997.

20 June: All Blacks wing Rene Ranger confirms that he is quitting his international career in favour of a lucrative contract with Montpellier.

22 June: South Africa put Samoa to the sword in a 56-23 drubbing at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria to take the silverware the at the end of the four-nation quadrangular series also involving Italy and Scotland.

22 June: The British and Irish Lions beat Australia 23-21 in a thrilling first Test in Brisbane. Despite the victory, they suffer a major blow when veteran lock Paul O'Connell breaks his arm in the clash.

23 June: England beat Wales in the first ever all-northern hemisphere IRB Junior World Championship Final. England secured a 23-15 victory in Vannes. The Baby Boks produced a superb comeback to beat New Zealand 41-34 and claim third place.

29 June: A late try from Adam Ashley-Cooper gives Australia a series-levelling 16-15 victory over the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne. The Lions suffer another setback when captain and openside flanker Sam Warburton suffers a hamstring injury which rules him out of the rest of the tour.

30 June: New Zealand lift the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 title in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after beating England 33-0 in the final. New Zealand's Tim Mikkelson is also announced as the 2013 IRB Sevens Player of the Year for 2013.

6 July: The British and Irish Lions secure their first series win in 16 years when they thrash Australia 41-16 in the series deciding third Test in Sydney.

8 July: SANZAR announce that the Rugby Championship will be the tournament which will unveil the debut of the new 'crouch, bind, set' scrum engagement trial. The new trial laws is aimed at enhancing player welfare and boosting scrum stability.

9 July: Robbie Deans is relieved of his duties as Wallabies coach after their 2-1 series defeat to the British and Irish Lions. He is replaced by former Reds boss Ewen McKenzie

17 July: All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw returns from his sabbatical when he is named amongst the replacements for the Crusaders' Super Rugby play-off against the Reds in Christchurch on 20 July.

18 July: New Zealand are crowned the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series champions, after beating Australia 47-12 in the final of the 2013 London Sevens.

27 July: The Chiefs and the Brumbies reach the Super Rugby Final after beating the Crusaders and Bulls in their respective semi-finals. The Chiefs pip the Crusaders 20-19 in Hamilton and the Brumbies claim a 26-23 victory over the Bulls in Pretoria.

3 August: The Chiefs are crowned Super Rugby champions for the second successive year after they secure a 27-22 victory over the Brumbies in Hamilton

17 August: Richie McCaw becomes the first All Black forward to score 100 Test points when he scores a try in their 47-29 victory over Australia in their Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

17 August: South Africa record the biggest ever winning margin in either the Rugby Championship or Tri-Nations when they beat Argentina 73-13 in Soweto.

24 August: Tony Woodcock becomes the fourth All Black to play 100 Tests in New Zealand's 27-16 victory over Australia in Wellington.

24 August: South Africa record their first away win in the Rugby Championship when they beat Argentina 22-17 in Mendoza.

3 September: SANZAR confirm that South Africa have been guaranteed a sixth Super Rugby franchise when the new broadcast deal will be implemented from 2016.

7 September: Dan Carter becomes the first player to pass 1400 Test points when he adds 10 points in New Zealand's 28-13 victory over Argentina in Hamilton.

7 September: South Africa record their first win at Suncorp Stadium and the first in Brisbane since 1971 when they beat Australia 38-12 in Brisbane. The victory marks the biggest ever winning margin by the Springboks over the Wallabies in Australia.

14 September: Brumbies back-row Ben Mowen - playing in just his seventh Test - becomes Australia's 80th Test captain during their 14-13 victory over Argentina in Perth.

5 October: Neil Powell is appointed coach of the Springbok Sevens team in succession to Paul Treu.

5 October: The All Blacks beat the Springboks 38-27 in Johannesburg, in what is widely regarded as the best game of 2014. The result secures New Zealand the Rugby Championship title for the second successive year.

5 October: Argentina centre Felipe Contepomi retires after los Pumas' 54-17 loss to the Wallabies in Rosario.

7 October: The Sharks have confirmed the appointment of former Brumbies coach, Jake White, as their new director of rugby.

11 October: Dr Jon Patricios, an expert at the forefront of rugby's concussion debate claims the benchmark player assessments are being manipulated.

12 October: The Pumas capped a dream Currie Cup First Division season as they maintained their unbeaten run, winning 53-30 against the EP Kings in the final in Nelspruit.

24 October: The Highlanders announce that former fly-half, and Otago ITM Cup coach, Tony Brown, has signed for the Dunedin-based franchise as an assistant coach.

25 October: The Pumas will replace Griquas in the Currie Cup Premier Division next season after their 33-15 victory in Nelspruit. This after they lost the first leg of the promotion/relegation battle 21-16 to Griquas in Kimberley the previous weekend.

26 October: Canterbury win their sixth successive ITM Cup title when they beat Wellington 29-13 in the final in Wellington.

26 October: The Sharks claim the 2013 Currie Cup title in Cape Town thanks to a 33-19 victory over defending champions Western Province.

16 November: Dan Carter becomes the fifth All Black to earn 100 test caps in New Zealand's 30-22 victory against England at Twickenham.

23 November: South Africa beat France on French soil for the first time in 16 years with a hard-fought 19-10 victory  to complete an unbeaten tour of Europe. This after also beating Scotland and Wales.

24 November: New Zealand make history as a late converted try saw them beat Ireland 24-22 at the Aviva Stadium, ending the year with 14 Test wins from 14 - the first country to achieve the feat in the professional era.

27 November: All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore announces his retirement. The 35-year-old won 85 caps for New Zealand after making his debut in 2002.

30 November: Australia full-back Israel Folau equals Lote Tuqiri's record of scoring ten tries in a calendar year for the Wallabies. Folau's record equalling feat is achieved when he scores a try in Australia's 30-26 win over Wales in Cardiff.

3 December: New Zealand number eight Kieran Read is named the IRB Player of the Year 2013. Read would also win the Kel Tremain Memorial trophy, as New Zealand's Player of the Year, the inaugural rugby Players' Player of the Year Award and he was also voted player of the year by the game's international fan base.

7 December: Toulon wing Bryan Habana is forced off the field with a hamstring injury in a Heineken Cup match against Exeter. The injury will keep him on the sidelines until the new year.

8 December: South Africa's Sevens team fight back from a 14-0 deficit to beat New Zealad 17-14 in the final of round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series played in Port Elizabeth. They dedicate their victory to their country's former president Nelson Mandela, who passed away three days earlier.

11 December: Former All Black fly-half and assistant coach at the Lions and Sharks, Carlos Spencer, has joined EP Kings on a five-year deal.

19 December: Code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams will return to New Zealand rugby, after confirming a two-year deal with the NZRU and the Chiefs franchise.

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