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From the figure of 8 in Chicago to Shane Byrne's Olympic doppleganger: 8 times that rugby went viral this year

Plus, nine-year-old Australian powerhouse Meaalofa Te’o.

1. Ireland’s tribute to Anthony Foley in Chicago

Ireland team face the Haka in a shape of eight in memory of Anthony Foley of Munster INPHO / Billy Stickland INPHO / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

Ireland produced a touching tribute to the late Munster legend Anthony Foley before their clash with the All Blacks in November.

As the team faced New Zealand’s haka, they stood in a figure of eight — a nod to Foley’s number during his playing days.

2. Jamie Heaslip’s thoughtful gestures after their Pro12 semi-final

The Leinster number 8 put time aside from his own celebrations to spend time and get a picture with die-hard fan Jennifer Malone.

Jamie Heaslip celebrates with Jennifer Malone Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

He then went on to present another fan, Shane Pedlow, with his match-winning boots.

Jamie Heaslip gives his boots to Shane Pedlow Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

3. Perfectly executed back-heel kick and 100m try in England

Alan Knuckey of Charlton Park RFC was dared by a friend to try a back heel in the last play of a game in November. He perfectly executed it, then got the bounce of the ball, beat the last man and raced away for an incredible try. All anyone in the stand could do was laugh at the audacity of it all.

4. Shane Byrne’s Olympic doppelganger

An image of Belarusian shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk took off online as people noticed uncanny similarities between herself and Shane Byrne ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Having won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, Ostapchuk was subsequently stripped of her Gold medal after failing a drugs test.

Byrne’s response was eagerly awaited, and he didn’t disappoint.

5. The All Blacks singing Ireland’s Call in Germany

Footage of Beauden Barrett and his teammates went viral in November as they sang Ireland’s Call in a bar in Munich.

Enough said. Just watch the video if you haven’t already.

(Can’t watch the video embedded above? Click here, you need this)

6. 9-year-old Australian Meaalofa Te’o

In September, footage of a towering nine-year-old boy ploughing through smaller opponents in an under nine’s rugby league grand final in Australia went viral and set the internet alight.

NRLUPLOADS / Buddakan/YouTube

The footage of Te’o went on to be picked up by several international media organisations.

7. Robbie Henshaw’s laptop robbery and Bundee Aki to the rescue


What everyone thought was a joke back in May actually turned into reality. Robbie Henshaw’s car was broken into and a bag, containing his laptop was stolen. Henshaw later posted on Instagram, warning people that Bundee Aki would sort things out. The day after however, Aki and other Connacht players used the ‘Find My Laptop’ app and rocked up to a Galway estate to locate the laptop. Gardaí were called, and the matter was resolved with the laptop being returned to its rightful owner.

8. Tadhg Furlong’s interview invader

A few weeks ago after Leinster’s win over Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup, Tadhg Furlong won the man-of-the-match award. While being interviewed before the presentation, someone intrudes from the side and puts his arm around Furlong.


The Leinster player laughed the incident off and said “I’ve never seen him before in my life,” while being handed his award.

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