|INTRO | REVIEW BY SPORT | GALLERY | VOTE | LEGENDS REMEMBERED | 2002 CALENDAR|
By Jonathon Moore
As the rugby bandwagon rolls on, it is easy for our anticipation of the future to overwrite any consideration of the past.
But as the New Year dawns, let us fans take time to quickly salute what has been yet another momentous 12 months in the rugby calendar.
Certainly British and Irish fans will never forget those 240 minutes in Australia that swung so savagely on one intercepted pass.
It had all looked so easy for the Lions, but when Jonny Wilkinson handed Joe Roff a clear run to the line, the series was turned on its head.
No-one should blame Wilkinson, who again proved himself to be a player of the very highest calibre.
Rather, the series demonstrated why the Lions continue to play such a vibrant role in our great sport.
Back on the home front, but equally as remarkable, England again slipped on the Celtic banana skin.
This time it was Ireland’s turn in Dublin – and how they deserved their victory.
Clive Woodward was again forced to accept the Six Nations trophy through gritted teeth.
But for the neutral, the game provided proof - if any was needed - that Europe’s premier tournament is still very much alive.
The same could be said of Leicester Tigers, who swept through the continent with such poise and confidence they could have been on the back of Harry Potter’s broomstick.
Grabbing a unique treble on the way, their swaggering self-belief has begun to rub off on the national side.
As recent victories over Australia and South Africa suggest, England are now rightly regarded as world champions in waiting.
They have yet to play the All Blacks, of course, and no doubt France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland will have more to say on the matter when the 2002 Six Nations kicks off in February.