List books in category Sports / Rugby

  • No Borders: Playing Rugby for Ireland - New 2018 Grand Slam Edition

    No Borders: Playing Rugby for Ireland – New 2018 Grand Slam Edition
    Tom English

    From Jack Kyle’s immortals to Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell’s golden generation and Rory Best’s history-makers, this is the story of Irish rugby told in the players’ words.Celebrated rugby writer Tom English embarks on a pilgrimage through the four provinces to reveal the fascinating and illuminating story of playing Test rugby in the green of Ireland – all the glory of victory, all the pain of defeat, and all the camaraderie behind the scenes.But more than a nostalgic look back through the years, this is a searing portrait of the effects of politics and religion on Irish sport, a story of great schisms and volatile divisions, but also a story of the profound unity, passionate friendships and bonds of a brotherhood.With exclusive new material garnered from 130 interviews with players and coaches from across the decades, No Borders unveils the compelling truth of what it means to play for Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Croke Park, the Aviva Stadium and around the world. This is the ultimate history of Irish rugby – told, definitively, by the men who have been there and done it.

  • The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990

    The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990
    Tom English

    Murrayfield, the Calcutta Cup, March 1990. England vs. Scotland – winner-takes-all for the Five Nations Grand Slam, the biggest prize in northern hemisphere rugby. Will Carling's England are the very embodiment of Margaret Thatcher's Britain – snarling, brutish and all-conquering. Scotland are the underdogs – second-class citizens from a land that's become the testing ground for the most unpopular tax in living memory: Thatcher's Poll Tax. Fifteen men in blue jerseys are plotting the downfall of the English oppressors. In Edinburgh, nationalism is rising high – what happens in the stadium will resound far beyond the pitch.The Grudge brilliantly recaptures a day that has gone down in history as a great day for Scotland. This is the real story of an extraordinary game, told with astounding insight and almost unprecedented access to key players, coaches and supporters on both sides (Will Carling, Ian McGeechan, Brian Moore and the rest). Tom English has produced a gripping account of a titanic struggle that thrusts the reader right into the heart of the action. Game on.

  • Odd-Shaped Balls: Mischief-Makers, Miscreants and Mad-Hatters Of Rugby

    Odd-Shaped Balls: Mischief-Makers, Miscreants and Mad-Hatters Of Rugby
    John Scally

    Rugby is not a game for those who think that centres are what you find in a box of Black Magic or who confuse Jonah Lomu with Joanna Lumley. At the same time, it is not a game for the bright: what kind of tortured mind would invent an oval ball? Of course, it helps if you know the rules and don't have any fear. In this respect you are in the same boat as most referees, particularly if you have a problem with your eyesight. Odd-Shaped Balls captures the humour, the agony and the ecstasy of one of the world's most popular sports. It snoops inside sweaty, smelly dressing-rooms, reveals the passions of coaches and fans – without whom rugby would cease to exist – and delves deep into the sport's archives to recall its heroes, villains and victims, all of whom are part of the daily currency. The book is no less than a who's who of the game, with both old and young getting the opportunity to have their say. Lining out is a cast of mischief-makers, miscreants and mad-hatters: from Max Boyce to Keith Wood; from Sean Fitzpatrick to Austin Healy; from Bill Beaumont and his streaker to Gavin Hastings; from Gareth Edwards to David Campese; and from the man in the scrum to the man at the bar. All exponents of surrealism, comic genius and savage wit, they offer a quirky insight into the sporting psyche as well as providing some riotous good laughs.With hundreds of funny stories, Odd-Shaped Balls is a light-hearted romp through decades of rugby tomfoolery that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of all sports fans.

  • Raging Bull: My Autobiography

    Raging Bull: My Autobiography
    Phil Vickery

    From a pint and a pie to ice baths and deep tissue massages … from Cornish Colts to World Cup final captain … from qualified cattle inseminator to owner of a sports fashion label … Phil Vickery, aka "Raging Bull", has pretty such seen and done it all in life and in rugby, straddling the amateur and professional eras like a bovine colossus. Raging Bull is the iconic tight-head prop's own incredible story, the tale of a true legend of rugby union; a tough, no-nonsense player who is as fearless and uncompromising on the pitch as he is a great raconteur off it. His career spans amateurism and professionalism, starting in the Cornish countryside and travelling to two World Cup finals and two Lions tours. Vickery is a hugely passionate player. He sports a tattoo which announces 'I'll fight you to the death', and has overcome serious injuries (including eight operations) in a career of stunning highs and devastating lows. He plays his sport in the best traditions of rugby and he is a story teller par excellence. Raging Bull will transport readers to the England front row in Six Nations clashes at Twickenham, to the changing rooms on British Lions tours, and to the bars of many an amateur rugby club. It will remind fans what rugby is really all about – the fun and camaraderie, and the passion and commitment, as the former herdsman turned England and Lions star takes you to the heart and soul of the sport he loves.

  • Rugby For Dummies: Edition 2

    Rugby For Dummies: Edition 2
    Mathew Brown

    Now updated–a practical guide to understanding rugby, North American—style Filled with illustrations and photographs of drills and shape-up exercises, Rugby For Dummies tackles North American rugby rules, levels of play, and how to coach junior players as well as adults. This revised edition includes the scoop on the fall 2007 rugby World Cup in France, expanded coverage of women’s rugby, and updated information on North America's best players and teams.

  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rugby But Were too Afraid to Ask

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rugby But Were too Afraid to Ask
    Iain Macintosh

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rugby But Were too Afraid to Ask explains the often-baffling laws of modern sport in a light-hearted and easy-to-understand way to the new fan/spectator or the 'sport widow'. This is a witty, off-the-wall guide to the rules of the modern game, as if written by a very patient but understanding friend. Writer Iain Macintosh explains how rugby works and why is it so popular, and reveals the history of the sport. He guides the novice through the basic rules of the game in a bouncy, easy-to-fathom style, but also explains the fast-changing pace of the modern game that has made it even more compelling.If you've ever been terrified by phrases like 'ruck and maul', or never quite understood the legalised 'bundle' that is a scrum, this book will remove the mystery and explain all you ever needed to know about rugby, but were too afraid to ask.

  • My Autobiography

    My Autobiography
    Bill McLaren

    Just before the start of the 2002 Wales v Scotland match in Cardiff, the stadium announcer asked people to stand and acknowledge Bill McLaren's great contribution to the sport. The whole ground rose, leaving McLaren choking back the tears. Then came a voice in his ear: 'Cue, Bill…'Coping with his emotions on that day was obviously not straightforward, even for a commentator of Bill McLaren's experience, used to being caught up in some of the most dramatic moments rugby has ever seen. But Bill also talks frankly about the greatest tragedy of his life: the death of his younger daughter from cancer at 46, the three years of agony and the trauma of her final day. Bill wanted to stay at her bedside but she insisted he go and carry out a commentating duty in Edinburgh on the Saturday afternoon. He did so, rushed back to the hospital, but she had died that afternoon while he was on air. McLaren, himself, had almost died of TB in his youth and he tells of the days and nights when he hid under the sheets in bed at the Scottish hospital where he was kept for 19 months, 'crying myself to sleep each night as they took away my friends who had died that day. I was certain I would be next'. He has excellent memories of his war years and delves deep to recall some harrowing times as a forward observation spotter when he came within inches of being killed by a German sniper. Later, he also remembers leading his men one day into a small northern Italian town where they discovered 1500 corpses piled up in the square. 'That was the day I became a man, rather quickly,' he says. He was 21.As well reliving the highlights of his illustrious career as a commentator, Bill talks of the game today and his regrets that rugby went professional. He is a fierce critic of what this has led to and fears for the future health and safety of rugby players because he regards the modern game as dangerously physical. His story amounts to a history of the game itself and reaffirms McLaren's status as something of a global treasure.

  • The Test: My Autobiography

    The Test: My Autobiography
    Brian O’Driscoll

    The bestselling autobiography of the greatest rugby player of our time: Brian O'Driscoll. Since 1999, when he made his international debut, there has been no greater player in world rugby than Brian O'Driscoll. In 2010 Rugby World magazine named him its world player of the decade – and since then the legend has only grown. Now, at the end of his amazing career – which culminated in fairy-tale fashion with Ireland's victory in the 2014 Six Nations championship – he tells his own story. Honest, gritty and thoughtful, Brian O'Driscoll's Autobiography is not just an essential sports book. It is an essential book about family, friends, hard work, courage and imagination.'Honest, charming and revealing – a thoroughly good read' Rugby World'A thoroughly enjoyable read … After reading The Test I warmed even more to O'Driscoll as a player and a man. He stood for a new ethos in Irish sport that refused to accept mediocrity or glorious failure' Fergal Keane, Irish Times'O'Driscoll's honesty … takes the reader to a place they simply have not been before' Vincent Hogan, Irish Independent'A must-read insight into the life and mind of Ireland's greatest rugby player' Irish Mail on Sunday'There are fascinating insights into the lengths he was willing to go to perform at the highest level' Sunday Business Post

  • Martyn Williams

    Martyn Williams
    Martyn Williams

    Determined, dedicated and dogmatic, Martyn Williams is the inspiring number seven lynchpin who has steered club and country to victory in inimitable style. In his action-packed autobiography, he writes for the first time about his love for the sport he has made his own.Starting out with home-town team Pontypridd, it didn't take the ginger-haired flanker long to make his mark on the national game. He made his Wales debut aged just 20 and won the Welsh league title with Ponypridd the following year, repeating the feat in his first season after joining Cardiff, who he went on to captain for three years. Twice a British Lion, he took an award-winning role in Wales' Six Nations championship Grand Slam of 2005 and then came out of international retirement to seal a second Slam in 2008. Martyn speaks for the first time about the controversial departure of Mike Ruddock as coach of the national team, the drinking culture in Welsh rugby in the early years of professionalism, the infamous Battle of Brive and why he turned down the chance to captain Wales at the 2003 World Cup. He also gives his views on the influx of southern hemisphere coaches like Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland, what went wrong at the 2007 World Cup and why he came out of retirement. Featuring the inside story of the 2008 Grand Slam and revealing portraits of his team-mates and opponents, this honest, witty, informative and entertaining autobiography is a must for fans and any sports lover.

  • Voices from the Back of the Bus: Tall Tales and Hoary Stories from Rugby s Real Heroes

    Voices from the Back of the Bus: Tall Tales and Hoary Stories from Rugby’s Real Heroes
    Stewart McKinney

    Voices from the Back of the Bus provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at international rugby at the height of a golden period. Recounted with genuine warmth and much humour, over a hundred players recall the scrapes, the games, the laughs, the glory and the gritty reality of the pre-professional game.Packed with true rugby tales from the days when men played purely for the love of the game and of their nation, and multimillion-pound contracts and sponsorship deals were unheard of, this refreshing, revealing and often hilarious collection will inspire sports fans of all generations.

  • Gordie s Tales

    Gordie’s Tales
    Gorden Tallis

    Who are the biggest 'lady killers' in rugby league past and present? Which international footballer was beaten up by teenage kids in Spain? What are the best 10 on-field sledges of all time?In Gordie's Tales, The Footy Show star and Queensland and Australian league legend Gorden Tallis tells these hilarious true stories and many more. Gorden takes you inside State of Origin teams, on Kangaroo tours, and along for the ride on hilarious end of season trips. Gordie gives his 'rant' on what is right and wrong with the game, and even tells us what he would do if he were to run the NRL for one day!Gordie's Tales is a very funny and rare insight into the real world behind modern day rugby league, written by someone who embodies the humour and the grit of the toughest game of all.

  • Rala: A Life in Rugby

    Rala: A Life in Rugby
    Patrick O’Reilly

    Irish rugby as you've never seen it before — from the man who got the job every rugby lover would love to have.'Rala has a gift for making people feel at ease and special at the same time' Paul O'ConnellPatrick 'Rala' O'Reilly has been bagman for the Irish rugby team for over twenty years. In that time he's witnessed many highs and lows. But for him rugby has always been about the people, the places and the experiences.Here, with his own inimitable wit and humour, he shares with us his unique memories of his time spent at the very centre of Irish and Lions rugby.From his early days with Terenure RFC to touring with the Lions in 2009 and 2013, to pre-match traditions, pranks, iPod playlists and his love affair with Inishbofin, he tells a behind-the-scenes story of team spirit and friendship. With anecdotes from Keith Wood, Brian O'Driscoll, Donncha O'Callaghan, Jamie Heaslip, Peter Clohessy, Paul O'Connell and others, Rala: A Life in Rugby gives us an insight into the world of rugby – as never seen before.'He's a gent, a role model … but, most importantly, he's a great friend' Jamie Heaslip'Even when I stopped being captain, I'd find my bags in my room when I arrived at the hotel, and my laundry hanging on the back of my door. He didn't have to do that, but then there's so much that he didn't have to do, but he still did' Brian O'Driscoll

  • Shane: My Story

    Shane: My Story
    Delme Parfitt

    Shane Williams has spent almost a decade thrilling the rugby world with his evasive running skills and a box of tricks that has left the best defences grasping thin air, disproving the notion that size matters in modern professional rugby. He's been called the little wizard, the artful dodger and a whole host of other superlatives, and wherever Williams has played, the crowd have been on the edge of their seats.As his teenage years came to an end, Williams looked set for a life of relative obscurity playing scrum-half for his local side, Amman United, and scratching around in a variety of day jobs. All that changed, however, when he was plucked from nowhere by then Neath coach Lyn Jones, and his rise to become Wales's most dangerous strike runner was meteoric. Following his international debut aged 21, Williams lit up Wales's 2003 World Cup campaign and went on to become an integral part of the Grand Slam-winning side of 2005, a year in which he also toured with the British Lions to New Zealand. In 2008, when Wales took the Grand Slam once more, he made a sensational contribution to the side's glorious victory. After leading the great Bryan Habana a merry dance on the way to two mesmerising tries on Wales' tour to South Africa just two months later, Williams became the first Welshman crowned IRB World Player of the Year that autumn. He then completed the 2008-09 season with a second Lions tour, touching down twice in the 28-9 third Test victory against the Springboks. In Shane, Williams reveals the inside story of his incredible rugby career so far, the personal trials that have come with success and how he has managed to defy the odds to become a living Welsh rugby legend.

  • Coaching Youth Rugby: An Essential Guide for Coaches, Parents and Teachers

    Coaching Youth Rugby: An Essential Guide for Coaches, Parents and Teachers
    Keith Richardson

    Written by an experienced rugby coach, Coaching Youth Rugby is an essential guide for all coaches, parents and teachers. This one-stop practical resource will give a new coach everything they need to deliver fun, dynamic, player-centred practice sessions and guidance on how to run a team. Coaches at all levels of the game will find material and ideas aimed at helping them to formulate simple strategies to suit their level of player ability. Contents include: practical small-team games and drills, enabling coaches to run active and fun sessions for young players; ideas for teaching fundamental rugby skills, from passing and handling to tackling, kicking, scrum and lineout; coaching theories explained in an uncomplicated and easy-to-understand manner.With field-tested, age-specific information to help you learn how to communicate with players, parents, other coaches and officials, Coaching Youth Rugby will help you manage your team on match days and provide measures for ensuring player safety. Includes full details on the new RFU Continuum. A one-stop practical resource that is fully illustrated with 60 colour photographs and 100 diagrams.

  • The Real McCaw: The Autobiography

    The Real McCaw: The Autobiography
    Richie McCaw

    Richie McCaw, Rugby World Cup winning captain and the New Zealand All Black's most capped player of all time, is unquestionably the greatest player of his generation and arguably the most talented player of all time. In this bestselling autobiography, he talks with brutal honesty about the roots of his family life that defined his character and how it gave him the strength to emerge from the lowest moment in his career to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, and become the most successful captain world rugby has ever seen. As he prepared to become the first captain to successfully defend the World Cup, McCaw set the standard of what a professional rugby player should be. Hugely popular and respected, his sheer presence means that he is a natural leader both on and off the pitch and his story is not just a brutal account of life on the front line, but an exhilarating portrait of modern rugby.

  • One Chance: My Life and Rugby

    One Chance: My Life and Rugby
    Josh Lewsey

    Josh Lewsey is a household name in English rugby. He has been a Rugby World Cup winner, part of the prestigious British Lions squad and a crucial member of the Wasps team, one of the most successful UK premiership rugby sides of the last 10 years. Not content with just being a rugby player, his life off the pitch has been equally impressive. He is a graduate in both Law and Physiology, a former Army Officer and an avid adventurer. This fascinating and humorous autobiography follows the highs and the lows that inevitably come from being at the top of a professional sport. His refreshingly honest approach means that he offers real insight into the personalities and attitudes that make up the rugby world, as well as the lessons that he has learnt along the way to reach the pinnacle of his game.

  • Beyond the Horizon: Extreme Adventures at the Edge of the World

    Beyond the Horizon: Extreme Adventures at the Edge of the World
    Richard Parks

    Richard Parks has what must be one of contemporary sport's most extraordinary and inspirational stories. Soon after he turned thirty, the professional career in rugby that had been his life for over a decade was cut short by injury, leaving him faced with an uncertain future. But unlike many other young athletes, Richard decided to tackle his fears, anxiety and depression head on, taking inspiration from Ranulph Fiennes and a line from his grandmother's eulogy – "The horizon is only the limit of our sight" and setting out on challenges that have become part of his everyday life.Richard created history with his first endeavour – the 737 Challenge – by becoming the first person to conquer the highest mountain on each of the world's continents and venture to both the North and South Poles within seven months. Then in 2013 he tackled three hugely challenging events – an ultramarathon through the Peruvian jungle, the world's highest mountain bike race, and a double iron man triathlon in Snowdonia – in preparation for an even more extraordinary challenge: to record the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole. These three challenges and the Antarctic speed record quest that saw Richard ski 11 hours a day enduring perishing conditions, broken skis and spending Christmas and New Year alone on the ice, were all filmed for a major four-part series to be broadcast on Channel 5 later this year.Beyond the Horizon is an amazing, inspiring, and exciting story for armchair adventurers, extreme sports and mountaineering fans alike.

  • Winning!: The path to Rugby World Cup glory

    Winning!: The path to Rugby World Cup glory
    Clive Woodward

    Winning! tells the story of the remarkable past six years – an unforgettable journey that began in September 1997 and took the team from the lower ranks of international first-class rugby to the top as World Cup Champions. Sir Clive Woodward and his team mounted a campaign of vast change, great learning, team building and clear vision to achieve their aim. 'We would question everything, change anything and leave no stone unturned,' he writes. WINNING! will talk about the team's journey of innovation and discovery and will reveal exactly how it happened, the fundamentals of their success and how these principles can be applied to any human endeavour. 'We changed the way we coached, the way we played and, of equal importance, how we operated off the field.' Bringing his business management skills to the game, Woodward simplified the entire approach to the structure of the team and created new management systems both on and off the pitch.In an anecdotal style, Clive Woodward entertains and informs while he describes the thrilling build-up to England's World Cup triumph.

  • Tackling Life

    Tackling Life
    Jonny Wilkinson

    Jonny Wilkinson's impact on global sport has been extraordinary. Yet Jonny has faced a battle all his life to achieve success and, crucially, happiness. A crippling fear of failure, the targets he set himself and a string of injuries have caused Jonny to question his attitude to life. In this startling new book, writing with Steve Black, Jonny opens up for the very first time, revealing his darkest moments and explaining in a practical way the steps and techniques he has taken to ensure success in all aspects of his life. He still wants to be the best, but he now enjoys the journey. With never-before-told stories from his life and rugby career, this book will act as a powerful inspiration for anyone wanting to bring to the field of play – be it business, personal or sport – the very best they have to offer.

  • Ronan O Gara: My Autobiography

    Ronan O’Gara: My Autobiography
    Ronan O’Gara

    Ronan O'Gara is one of the greatest sportsmen Ireland has ever produced. A brilliant kicker both from the hand and at penalty goals, a sublime orchestrator of play from the out-half position he has made his own, and a cool head in the pressure-cooker of club and international rugby, the list of the Cork man's achievements goes on and on. The leading points scorer in Irish rugby history, the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup. The architect of two amazing Munster triumphs in Europe. The man whose last minute drop-goal sensationally won the Grand Slam in 2009, Ireland's first for 61 years.In his candid, illuminating autobiography, O'Gara tells the story of those many on-field successes and, with brutal honesty, the darker days as well, most notably at the 2007 World Cup. He tells the inside story of Ireland's disappointments in France, and responds to the allegations about his personal life that made front-page news that autumn. Ronan O'Gara: My Autobiography is the unforgettable story of a rugby player at the top of his game, of a life lived to the full, and of a passionate and proud representative of the people of Cork and Ireland.

  • Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions

    Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions
    Stephen Jones

    This new edition will include stories, anecdotes, interviews and images from the 2013 Lions tour, the controversial and hugely exciting Test series that witnessed the Lions greatest triumph for 16 years. For 125 years the British & Irish Lions have stood out as a peerless emblem in world sport. This unique account of the best from the four Home Nations examines every tour in the Lions' history, including the victorious 2013 tour to Hong Kong and Australia, told in the players' words. 'Behind the Lions' sees four esteemed rugby writers from each of the Home Nations delve to the heart of what it means to be a Lion, interviewing a vast array of former and current players to uncover the passion, pride and exhilaration experienced when wearing the famous red jersey. It is a tale of heart-break and ecstasy, humour and poignancy that is at once inspirational, moving and utterly compelling. This is the story of the British & Irish Lions – in their own words.

  • Sculthorpe: Man of Steel

    Sculthorpe: Man of Steel
    Paul Sculthorpe

    PAUL SCULTHORPE is the man who was born to be a superstar. Touted as a future Great Britain skipper before he even played his first game as a professional, he has more than lived up to the billing over the ensuing years.The only player to ever be named Man of Steel in successive years, the St Helens captain is arguably the most talented man to grace a rugby league field in modern times. Yet Sculthorpe did not always have his sights set on Challenge Cup and Grand Final glory. As a youngster he spent his time booting a football around with brother Lee – and actually had to be forced into playing his first game of rugby.From that moment a star was born, as he went on to captain every side he represented, even though he was often playing a year above his age group.Warrington were the first to spot that potential, snapping him up on schoolboy terms, and helping shape the greatest player in Super League history. When he went hunting a bigger stage, St Helens had no hesitation paying a world record £370,000 – a transfer fee that quickly looked a bargain.Since then various rugby union clubs have sounded out the chances of tempting him into a code switch, while the biggest names in Australia would love to take the prize Pom Down Under.Throughout it all Scully has stayed true to his roots, even though that loyalty was sorely tested when knee injuries led to a whispering campaign that he was finished.Now Sculthorpe lifts the lid on a remarkable career. The highs and the lows; the friendships and the fall-outs; and where he feels his future REALLY lies. It's a no-holds barred account of one man's incredible rise to the top – and the steely determination which keeps him there.

  • My Name 5 Doddie: The Autobiography

    My Name’5 Doddie: The Autobiography
    Doddie Weir

    The extraordinary, life-affirming autobiography of rugby legend DODDIE WEIRThere has never been anyone quite like Doddie Weir. A giant of the game and a rugby icon, his story is unique, inspirational and charged with a passion for living life to the full.In a rugby career which had huge highs and shocking lows, Doddie faced some of the greatest players in the game, from Jonny Wilkinson to Jonah Lomu, Brian O'Driscoll to Scott Quinnell and Martin Johnson to Joost van der Westhuizen, and set stadiums alight when "on the charge like a mad giraffe". Now, at the age of 48, Doddie is facing an entirely different adversary: Motor Neurone Disease.But Doddie Weir has never been one to shy away from a challenge, on or off the pitch, and he has faced up to MND with undaunted positivity, using his boundless energy to raise funds for MND research and support, with more than £1million already raised and committed in the first year.MY NAME'5 DODDIE is a courageous and hugely entertaining celebration of a remarkable life being lived to the max. You will laugh, you may cry, but Doddie's story is an absolute must-read – rugby fan or not.

  • Stephen Jones: A Thinking Man s Game: My Story

    Stephen Jones: A Thinking Man’s Game: My Story
    Simon Roberts

    Since making his national debut in 1998, Stephen Jones has emerged from the shadows of the true greats of Welsh rugby, such as Barry John, Phil Bennett, Jonathan Davies and Neil Jenkins, to make the fly-half position his own. In this revealing autobiography, he provides a rare insight into the demands and pressures of wearing the almost mythical number 10 jersey that has such a pre-eminent status in the Welsh psyche.As well as playing an integral role in Wales's two Grand Slam victories, Jones has appeared in three Rugby World Cups and was part of the 2005 British and Irish Lions squad. He has witnessed at first hand how the Welsh rugby establishment has struggled with the transition to professionalism, and in this candid memoir he recounts the many highs he has experienced, as well as the challenges he has faced, throughout his career so far.Jones gives an intriguing account of how he became one of the few Welsh players to play in France, recalling the brutality of the game there and how he became a cult figure amongst fans of Clermont Auvergne, where he was twice voted fly-half of the season.In Stephen Jones – A Thinking Man's Game: My Story, the Welsh rugby star reveals how his steely resolve, utter determination and sheer passion for rugby have allowed him to bounce back from numerous setbacks to become one of the most popular and respected figures in the game today.

  • The House of Lancaster: How England Rugby was Reinvented

    The House of Lancaster: How England Rugby was Reinvented
    Neil Squires

    Acclaimed world champions in 2003, the England rugby union team came home from the World Cup in New Zealand eight years later to the sound of silence. Their rugby was uninspiring and their reputation in tatters. Stuart Lancaster – former burger-flipper, PE teacher and the novice Saxons coach – was tasked with turning a failing team around. The transformation was astounding. Now Lancaster's side has the work ethic, humility and resolve to compare with that World Cup-winning team. Much of this is down to their coach, but with so little international experience, how did he bring about this renewal?Part biography, part examination of leadership, The House of Lancaster pulls apart the England rugby machine and looks at how it has been put together. Filled with exclusive interviews from the leading protagonists, players and coaches, as well as containing unprecedented access to Lancaster's methods, The House of Lancaster shows how the vision, personality and leaderships skills of one driven man can turn a team into genuine world-beaters.With a foreword from Sir Ian McGeechan OBE

  • Rugby Union Basics In A Day For Dummies

    Rugby Union Basics In A Day For Dummies
    Nick Cain

    If you get a big kick out of rugby but still feel you could sharpen up your knowledge of the game, Rugby Rules in a Day For Dummies is for you. Inside you'll find easy-to-understand advice on the basic rules of the game, pitch positions, and tactics. In less than a day, readers will find all they need to know to get understand the sport of rugby: Features an in-depth look at Laws that form the beautiful game Covers all the reader will need to know about talking tactics Is perfect for anyone looking at swatting up on rugby

  • Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

    Invictus: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation
    John Carlin

    This uplifting true story is now a major film, starring Oscar nominees Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, directed by Clint Eastwood.Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2008As the day of the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup dawned, and the Springboks faced New Zealand's all-conquering All Blacks, more was at stake than a sporting trophy. When Nelson Mandela appeared wearing a Springboks jersey and led the all-white Afrikaner-dominated team in singing South Africa's new national anthem, he conquered the hearts of white South Africa. Invictus tells the extraordinary human story of how that moment became possible. It shows how a sport, once the preserve of South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking minority, came to unify the new rainbow nation, and tells of how – just occasionally – something as simple as a game can help people to rise above themselves and see beyond their differences.

  • Proud: My Autobiography

    Proud: My Autobiography
    Gareth Thomas

    **WINNER British Sports Book Awards SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR****Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award**Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself.This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something that might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. The only place where he could find any refuge from the pain and guilt of the lie he was living was on the pitch, playing the sport he loved. But all his success didn’t make the strain of hiding who he really was go away. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge.The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective. Gareth’s inspiring and moving story transcends the world of sport to tell a universal truth about feeling like an outsider, and facing up to who you really are.

  • Becoming a Lion

    Becoming a Lion
    Johnny Sexton

    Johnny Sexton – the man who pulled the strings for the Lions – gives an intimate insight into the rugby life in Becoming a Lion.With three Heineken Cups and one British and Irish Lions tour victory under his belt, Johnny Sexton is by some distance the leading fly-half in the northern hemisphere. Over the course of the Lions' first victorious Test series in sixteen years, Sexton was the man pulling the strings. His try in the third test was the decisive blow, and his joyous celebrations after scoring were echoed in homes across Britain and Ireland. Becoming a Lion is an intimate portrait of life at the highest levels of the professional game – at Leinster, with Ireland, and on tour with the Lions.'Bracing and fascinating in equal measure' Malachy Clerkin, Irish Times'Riveting … Opens a remarkable window into the stresses, hurts and insecurities of a professional life in rugby' Vincent Hogan, Irish Independent'Captures all the jagged edges that make Sexton one of Irish sport's most compelling characters' Sunday Times'Sets a great benchmark for sports autobiographies, given that it is so honest' Matt Cooper, Today FM'Engrossing' Rugby World Ireland'If you crave an insight into the life of a professional rugby player … Becoming a Lion is a must' Donal Lenihan, Irish Examiner 'Intensely revealing' Irish Daily Mail

  • The Outsider

    The Outsider
    Geordan Murphy

    Geordan Murphy does not come from the leafy suburbs of south Dublin or the rugby hotbeds of Limerick or Cork. As a teenager he played Gaelic football for Kildare minors. But his greatest love, and his true genius, was for rugby. Now nearing the end of a career that has seen him win over seventy Ireland caps – a number that a great many supporters and pundits believe should be considerably higher – and attain the captaincy of the top English club, Leicester, Geordan Murphy tells his own story for the first time.'A delightful read … brilliant' Rugby World'Bright, breezy, entertaining and revealing' Gerry Thornley, Irish Times'An open, honest and entertaining book' RTE Guide

  • The Battle

    The Battle
    Paul O’Connell

    The revelatory autobiography of a rugby colossus: Paul O'Connell. WINNER OF THE CROSS SPORTS BOOK AWARDS RUGBY BOOK OF THE YEARThere has never been a rugby player quite like Paul O'Connell. He is synonymous with passion, heart and determination; but he is also the thinking man's rugby player, a legendary student of the game. As the heartbeat of Munster, British and Irish Lions captain in 2009, and captain of the first Ireland team to defend a Six Nations championship, O'Connell has emerged as perhaps the most beloved of the golden generation of Irish rugby players. In an autobiography as intense as its author, he tells the story of his remarkable career.'The years of O'Connell and O'Driscoll were as close to a golden age as ever Ireland will get and O'Connell's book tells you how it all happened … It should be mandatory for every Irish squad member to read O'Connell's book to better understand what it takes to make a team' David Walsh, Sunday Times'O'Connell has emptied the tank here. … What has come out … is a psychological profile that is almost shocking at times in what it reveals about the bloody single-mindedness of the competitive gene' Hilary A. White, Irish Independent'The intense physicality of his rugby upbringing is an abiding theme … along with humour, the craic and an extensive knowledge of how teams work' Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph'I found The Battle entrancing' Stephen Jones, Sunday Times'Excellent … [an] eye-opening account of the never-ending battles he fought' Rugby World'Revelatory … Unflinchingly charts his personal evolution … He is not at all easy on himself' Keith Duggan, Irish Times

  • Half Time

    Half Time
    Nigel Owens

    Nigel Owens is a familiar figure on stage and television, and is considered one of the best rugby referees in the world. But before reaching his current status in the world of professional rugby, he went through an excruciating personal crisis.

  • Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby

    Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby
    Owen Sheers

    This edition has been fully updated to include the 2013 Six Nations and the British and Irish Lions Tour.What does rugby mean to Wales? Where does the heart of Welsh rugby lie? In Calon, Owen Sheers takes a personal journey into a sport that defines a nation. Drawing on interviews and unprecedented access with players and WRU coaching staff, Calon presents an intimate portrait of a national team in the very best tradition of literary sports writing. At the 2011 Rugby World Cup a young Welsh side captained by the 22-year-old Sam Warburton, captured the imagination of the rugby-watching world. Exhibiting the grit and brilliance of generations past, an ill-fated semi-final ended in heartbreak. But a fledgling squad playing with the familiarity of brothers had sent out an electrifying message of hope: could this be a third golden generation of Welsh rugby? It was with this question hanging in the air that Owen Sheers took up his position as Writer in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union. Calon is the document of a year spent at the heart of Welsh rugby; the inside story of a 6 Nations campaign that galvanised a nation and ended in Grand Slam success for the third time in 8 years.

  • When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971

    When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971
    Tom English

    When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971 – Longlisted for the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year AwardThe 1971 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand has gone down in history as one of the greatest of all time.When the enigmatic Carwyn James was appointed as coach, he faced a gruelling schedule: two matches against powerful provincial sides in Australia packed with Test players, then a hop across the Tasman Sea for a twenty-four-match slog around New Zealand, which would include a four-Test series against the All Blacks, the best side on the planet. No Lions team had ever defeated the All Blacks in a Test series. Since 1904, six Lions sides had travelled to New Zealand and all had returned home with their tails between their legs. But in 1971 a tour party led by John Dawes set out to carve their names into the annals of the sport with their assault on the great bastion of world rugby. Lying in wait were team after team of hardened rugby warriors and an All Blacks side filled with legends of the game. But as the Lions began to sweep their way across the length and breadth of the country, displaying ferocity and magic in equal measure, it became clear that a Test series of epic proportions was set to unfold. When Lions Roared delves into the very heart of that famous summer as Lions, All Blacks and provincial players recount their memories to bring to life one of the most celebrated tours in rugby history – one that changed the game forever and continues to resonate powerfully to this day.

  • Carry Me Home: My Autobiography

    Carry Me Home: My Autobiography
    Ben Cohen

    Ben Cohen’s dad didn’t know anything about the sport his young son had taken up, but he was happy to drive him to practice, and was soon helping out at the club. When his business went bankrupt money was tight, but Ben’s hard working parents inspired their son to put his all into rugby.Then, when Ben was 20, his father intervened in a fight in the nightclub where he worked. He was viciously beaten and one month later he died in hospital. Ben was doing an England press conference at the time, and it was down to coach Clive Woodward to deliver the devastating news. But the ordeal was far from over. The inquest lasted five months before the funeral could be held, and it was a year before the family were in court, facing Peter’s assailants.Ben put all of the anger and pain from his father’s death into his rugby. Fast and powerful on the wing, he was soon the best in the world in his position and a cornerstone of the England team, culminating in the legendary World Cup win in Sydney in 2003. And yet he always felt like an outsider. Most people didn’t know that Ben is clinically deaf. His sixth sense for the game got him through on the pitch, but off it his poor hearing was often taken for arrogance.This is an inspirational story of passion and pain; of the highs of achieving your goals, and the grief of losing something you can never get back.

  • Book 2: Futuristic Rugby League: Academy of Excellence for Coaching Rugby Skills and Fitness Drills

    Book 2: Futuristic Rugby League: Academy of Excellence for Coaching Rugby Skills and Fitness Drills
    Bert Holcroft

    The Holcroft saga is a rugby story, the likes of which may never have been equaled in the history of the game. It begins over a century ago, when Mr. George Holcroft was given charge of Leigh St. Peters RLFC in 1889. He married, and when his family grew up, Jack, Harry, William, and Tom all played for local teams. They married, and George’s grandsons, Bert and Bill, also played. Bert Holcroft has been a distinguished servant of the game of rugby all his life. He holds coaching certificates from both the Australian and British governing bodies—one of only a handful of men to achieve such an honor in the game’s history. For twenty-odd years, Bert Holcroft has had one of the unlikeliest jobs in sports—teaching Australian rugby coaches how to coach! Considering the Australian dominance of World Rugby in recent years, that might seem at par with taking coal to Newcastle. But make no mistake, Bert Holcroft has done as much as anyone to ensure Australia’s reemergence as a major rugby power. On the face of it, Australia wouldn’t seem to need any outside help, let alone from a Pom. Their record of only one test defeat since 1978 speaks for itself. But Bert’s reputation is nationwide down under—quite simply, he’s one of the best in the business. Bert, who played for Leigh between 1950 and 1960, has spent much of his later years down under, lecturing to top-grade coaches in New South Wales.

  • Matt Dawson: Nine Lives

    Matt Dawson: Nine Lives
    Matt Dawson

    The most capped England rugby scrum-half of all time, a captain of his country, and a two-times British Lions tourist, Matt Dawson’s career story is a colourful tale spiced with controversy, from club rugby at Northampton to England winning the Rugby World Cup in Australia. The boy from Birkenhead learnt the game the hard way, working as a security guard and an advertising salesman in his formative years, in the days when rugby players found relief in an active and alcoholic social life. (Dawson: ‘The drinking started on Saturday night, continued all Sunday and most nights until Thursday.’) Despite the frequent visits to the operating theatre and the physio’s table, hard graft for his club Northampton eventually heralded international recognition. Dawson talks about the influential, and occasional obstructive figures in his blossoming career: the likes of John Olver, Will Carling, Ian McGeechan and, more recently, Wayne Shelford, Kyran Bracken and Clive Woodward. In typically opinionated mode, he also reflects on the successes and failures of the England team and, famously, the Lions in Australia in 2001. After speaking out against punishing schedules, disenchanted players and lack of management support in a tour diary article, Dawson was almost sent home in disgrace. He revisits that bitterly disappointing period in his life and is still not afraid to point out where everything went wrong. Following England’s Rugby World Cup 2003 success, Dawson provides a first-hand account of all the dressing room drama – including a troubled Jonny Wilkinson – and the memorable final itself, followed by the stunning reaction to this historic win back home. And in a new updated chapter for this paperback edition, he reveals how the World Champions have overcome the retirement of key players, reviews the 2004 Six Nations, and looks at his own future in the game.

  • Blindsided

    Blindsided
    Michael Lynagh

    Former Australian rugby union legend and World Cup winner, now acclaimed television sports pundit, on his glittering career in the game – and how close he came to losing his life. Few players in the history of the game have had as illustrious a career as Wallaby fly-half and captain Michael Lynagh. In an era when Australia took the rugby world by storm with their glittering array of mercurial talent, in chief orchestrator and courageous captain Lynagh they had a pivotal figure at fly-half who shaped their style of play and at the same time played a major ambassadorial role in the world game. Yet fast forward to that April day in 2012, as Lynagh lay partially blinded in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, his life hanging by a thread following a major stroke, his wife and three young boys on the other side of the world. The day that defined the rest of his life. Lynagh’s story is one of corruscating highs and crippling lows. It’s the personal tale of a sportsman playing to the extremes of his profession, but also a human tale of surviving debilitating trauma and finding a new meaning to life.

  • Nobody Beats Us: The Inside Story of the 1970s Wales Rugby Team

    Nobody Beats Us: The Inside Story of the 1970s Wales Rugby Team
    David Tossell

    In the 1970s, an age long before World Cups, rugby union to the British public meant Bill McLaren, rude songs and, most of all, Wales. Between 1969 and 1979, the men in red shirts won or shared eight Five Nations Championships, including three Grand Slams and six Triple Crowns. But the mere facts resonate less than the enduring images of the precision of Gareth Edwards, the sublime touch of Barry John, the sidesteps of Gerald Davies and Phil Bennett, the courage of J.P.R. Williams, and the forward power of the Pontypool Front Row and 'Merv the Swerve' Davies.To the land of their fathers, these Welsh heroes represented pride and conquest at a time when the decline of the province's traditional coal and steel industries was sending thousands to the dole queue and threatening the fabric of local communities. Yet the achievements of those players transcended their homeland and extended beyond mere rugby fans. With the help of comedian Max Boyce, the culture of Welsh rugby and valley life permeated Britain's living rooms at the height of prime time, reinforcing the sporting brilliance that lit up winter Saturday afternoons.In Nobody Beats Us, David Tossell, who spent the '70s as a schoolboy scrum-half trying to perfect the Gareth Edwards reverse pass, interviews many of the key figures of a golden age of Welsh rugby and vividly recreates an unforgettable sporting era.

  • Pulling the Strings: My Autobiography

    Pulling the Strings: My Autobiography
    Peter Stringer

    The long-awaited autobiography of Ireland's most beloved rugby player: Peter StringerWhen Peter Stringer played youth rugby, he was so small that people told his parents he shouldn't be allowed on the pitch. Fortunately for Munster and for Ireland, they paid no attention. Over 200 provincial caps and 98 international caps later, Stringer is a legend.Since making his Munster debut in 1998, his lightning-quick passing, sniping breaks and brave defending have electrified fans – never more so than when he deceived the entire Biarritz team at a scrum to sneak in for the try that brought Munster its first Heineken Cup in 2006. In Ireland's breakthrough season of 2009, his man-of-the-match performance at Murrayfield helped overturn a late deficit en route to the Six Nations Grand Slam.Now, for the first time, Peter Stringer tells his own story – a story of overcoming the odds, and a story every Irish rugby fan will want to read.'What gives the publication its grit is the scrum-half's no-holds-barred descriptions of fallings-out with various coaches … All revelatory stuff' Liam Heagney, Irish Daily Mail

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Rise and Fall of Pontypool RFC

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Rise and Fall of Pontypool RFC
    Nicholas Bishop

    What made Pontypool such a great seam of talent for the Welsh national team? Why were they hated and feared in equal measure by other clubs in Wales and across the Severn? What made Ray Prosser a coach ahead of his time?In this engrossing book, Alun Carter and Nick Bishop recount the dramatic story of the rise and fall of one of the great enigmas of Welsh club rugby: Pontypool RFC. They chart the glories and violence of the amateur era in the 1970s and ’80s before the club entered a period of steady decline in the age of professionalism, reaching the point of bankruptcy after a crippling legal battle with the Welsh RU. It is a symbolic tale of the disintegration of the social fabric that held a once-great club together, both on and off the playing field – often irresistibly funny, eventually tragic, but always larger than life.

  • Rugby Union For Dummies: Edition 3

    Rugby Union For Dummies: Edition 3
    Nick Cain

    If you're new to the sport or you feel you could sharpen up your knowledge of the game, this guide is for you. Inside you'll find easy-to-understand advice on the basic rules and pitch positions, plus in-depth lessons on ball skills, fitness training, and techniques to outwit your opponents – all illustrated with entertaining stories from British and International rugby's back pages. In addition, you get a grounding in the local, national and international reaches of Rugby Union Rugby Union For Dummies 3rd Edition: Features an in-depth and up-to-date look at the Laws that form the beautiful game Covers all you will need to know about talking tactics and is perfect for anyone looking at swatting up on rugby for the World Cup and beyond Advises on all you will need to know to get stuck in and play Contains a new chapter on sevens as the sport will be a demonstration sport at London 2012 and a full sport at Rio 2016

  • Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream: WINNER OF THE TELEGRAPH SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

    Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream: WINNER OF THE TELEGRAPH SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
    Ben Ryan

    SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018The uplifting, feel-good autobiography of Ben Ryan, the coach of the Olympic gold-medal winning Fijian rugby team It is late summer 2013. Ben Ryan, a red-haired, 40-something, spectacle-wearing Englishman, is given 20 minutes to decide whether he wants to coach Fiji's rugby sevens team, with the aim of taking them to the nation's first-ever Olympic medal. He has never been to Fiji. There has been no discussion of contracts or salary. But he knows that no one plays rugby like the men from these isolated Pacific islands, just as no one plays football like the kids from the Brazilian favelas, or no one runs as fast as the boys and girls from Jamaica's boondocks. He knows too that no other rugby nation has so little – no money and no resources, only basic equipment and a long, sad history of losing its most gifted players to richer, greedier nations.Ryan says yes. And with that simple word he sets in motion an extraordinary journey that will encompass witchdoctors and rugby-obsessed prime ministers, sun-smeared dawns and devastating cyclones, intense friendships and bitter rows, phone taps and wild nationwide parties. It will end in Rio with a performance that not only wins Olympic gold but reaches fresh heights for rugby union and makes Ben and his 12 players living legends back home.

  • Strength and Conditioning for Rugby Union

    Strength and Conditioning for Rugby Union
    Joel Brannigan

    Rugby Union as a sport has seen continual evolution over the years, and never more so than since the game officially became professional in 1995. While on the pitch tactics have seen more formalized approaches to skill acquisition, it is off the pitch where the biggest changes have occurred and no area has developed more than strength and conditioning. Players have gone from traditionally training for 'fitness' as an add-on to their rugby training to seeking out structured athletic training interventions. Furthermore, with modern rugby players being physically bigger and faster, the need to ensure that they are more robust and free from injury has led to the demand for a more scientific approach to the prescription of strength and conditioning. In Strength and Conditioning for Rugby Union, ex-international player Joel Brannigan presents the underpinning science of strength and conditioning in rugby. Using the fundamental principles of training, he details a structure of assessing rugby players that in turn will allow appropriate training inverventions to be planned out and, most importantly, coached to a wide range of rugby playing levels. Aimed at coaches and players at all levels of the game, sport science support staff, students and academics and fully illustrated with 210 colour images and diagrams.

  • The Lions: When the Going Gets Tough: Behind the scenes

    The Lions: When the Going Gets Tough: Behind the scenes
    Ian McGeechan

    Sir Ian McGeechan is the 'Ultimate Lion'. Nobody's name resonates louder with the Lions than his. In 2017 the British and Irish Lions face one of the toughest tours in history – taking on the All Blacks in New Zealand, where they have only won one of their last 12 Tests. In this unique and fascinating book Sir Ian McGeechan uses his own coaching notes to provide insight and background into what it means to be a Lion, and how the most successful Lions teams in history were built. He will also delve into his rich collection of anecdotes to bring alive the characters involved, and it will undoubtedly be a book that even Warren Gatland will want to read.

  • In the Line of Fire: The Inside Story from the Lions Head Coach

    In the Line of Fire: The Inside Story from the Lions Head Coach
    Warren Gatland

    '"Draw"' is an inadequate way to describe what the Lions did here. They stopped one point short of a miracle.' Daily TelegraphWarren Gatland's In the Line of Fire is the ultimate chronicle of this summer's remarkable Lions tour to New Zealand – home of the fearsome All Blacks, the double world champions – which culminated in an historic and nerve-shredding series draw.The book is the Head Coach's candid record of the perspiration and inspiration, the withering ferocity,and the turbulent peaks and troughs which go hand-in-hand with one of sport's toughest challenges. It gives rugby fans an unparalleled front-row seat with the squad and coaching team during every facet of preparing for and executing a successful tour on the opposite side of the planet, recounting intriguing details on everything from pre-tour planning and strategy, to on-tour experiences, analysis and decision-making.It all adds up to a thrillingly definitive exposition and post-mortem of a mind-blowing six weeks in the cauldron which forged the mighty All Blacks.

  • Legend - The Biography of Brian O Driscoll

    Legend – The Biography of Brian O’Driscoll
    Marcus Stead

    BRIAN O'DRISCOLL is one of the greatest outside centres in history, not just in Ireland, but throughout the world. He is Ireland's most capped player of all time and has led the team as captain in a staggering 83 tests, including leading Ireland to their first Grand Slam in 60 years when they won it in 2009. Voted 'Player of the Decade' by Rugby World in 2010 Brian O'Driscoll is, quite simply, the most celebrated player in the sport today. Ever since his first match for Leinster in 1999 – he would go on to make his debut for Ireland that very same year – O'Driscoll has shown the explosive strength, poise and guile that has led him to the top of the game. Despite this, he has had his low moments, most notably when in 2005 he had to be carried off of the field in the opening minutes of the first test of the Lions tour of New Zealand after a spear tackle from Umaga and Mealamu. Fully updated to include Leinster's thrilling victory over Ulster in the 2012 Heineken Cup, his marriage to Threesome actress Amy Huberman, the birth of their first child, Sadie and the 2013 Lions tour, this is the definitive book on O'Driscoll's career.

  • Joking Apart: My Autobiography

    Joking Apart: My Autobiography
    Donncha O’Callaghan

    Donncha O'Callaghan is one of Ireland's leading international rugby players, and a stalwart of the Munster side. He was a key figure in the Irish team which won the IRB 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2009, and has won two Heineken Cup medals and two Magners League titles with Munster. But that success did not come easy. For such a well known player with a larger-than-life reputation, his long battle to make a breakthrough at the highest level is largely unknown. In this honest and revealing autobiography, Donncha talks in detail about the personal setbacks and disappointments at Munster and the unconventional ways he dealt with the frustration of not making the team for four of five years in his early 20s.He had a parallel experience with Ireland where it took him nearly six years to get from fringe squad member to established first choice player. Here he talks candidly about how he brought discipline to his game, and about his relationships with the coaches who had overlooked him and the second row rivals who had kept him on the bench.Donncha talks also with great warmth about a hectic childhood that was shaped by the death of his father when he was only six years old. One of the heroes of his story is his mother Marie who showed incredible strength and resourcefulness to rear a family of five on her own.Often deservedly regarded as 'the joker in the pack', what is often less well known is the serious attitude and intensely professional approach Donncha brings to his rugby. Joking Apart gives the full picture, showing sides of the man that will be unfamiliar to followers of Irish rugby and will surprise the reader.

  • Rugby Drills: 125 Activities to Improve Your Coaching Sessions

    Rugby Drills: 125 Activities to Improve Your Coaching Sessions
    Eamonn Hogan

    Crowood's Rugby Drills is a collection of 125 activities, practices and games designed to improve coaching sessions at all levels of the game. The drills are organised into chapters according to a particular skill or phase of the game, from the warm up to handling, contact, lineout, scrum, kicking and defence. Each chapter starts with a series of simple activities before progressing through to more complex ones, each broken down into step-by-step explanations and diagrams, as well as guidance on how to increase the level of difficulty.Tried and tested over a number of years, and proven to work in developing skills and teamwork with players of all abilities, many of the drills were created by the author, while some have been used by the most famous coaches in the world. All of them were designed for use without the need for specialist and/or expensive equipment. Aimed at new coaches of youth and adult rugby, as well as coaches who want to review/improve their methods, it offers lots of ideas and is superbly illustrated with 250 colour diagrams.

  • Underdogs: Keegan Hirst, Batley and a Year in the Life of a Rugby League Town

    Underdogs: Keegan Hirst, Batley and a Year in the Life of a Rugby League Town
    Tony Hannan

    **Shortlisted for the 2018 General Outstanding Sports Book of the Year**One of the founder members in 1895 of what became the Rugby League, Batley was once a thriving centre of commerce, one of the bustling mill towns in the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire. More than 120 years on, times have changed, even if the town's Victorian buildings remain, but one constant is the importance of the club as the centre of the community. And in 2016, the Batley Bulldogs brought more than their fair share of pride to the town. They were Underdogs, but gave their professional Super League rivals a run for their money in a season that surpassed all expectations.Given unprecedented access to the team – players, staff and fans – Tony Hannan charts a fascinating year in the life of a lower-league club, of labourers spilling blood and guts on to Batley's notorious sloping pitch before getting bruised bodies up for work on a Monday morning, of hand-to-mouth existence at the unglamorous and gritty end of British sport. And at their centre is the Bulldogs captain Keegan Hirst, the first rugby league player to come out as gay, and inspirational coach John Kear, just two men in the most colourful cast of characters. It was also a year when the town was plunged into tragedy by the brutal murder of local MP Jo Cox, a great supporter of the club.Underdogs is more than just a book about Batley though. It is the story of northern working-class culture, past and present, and a report from the front-line of a society struggling to find its identity in a changing world.

  • Seeing Red: Twelve Tumultuous Years in Welsh Rugby

    Seeing Red: Twelve Tumultuous Years in Welsh Rugby
    Alun Carter

    Alun Carter experienced the highs and lows of the Wales national rugby squad throughout his 12 years working for the WRU. During this time, he saw a number of high-profile coaches come and go, and in Seeing Red he delivers a brutally honest account of what it was like to work with each of them. From the inspirational successes of the Graham Henry and Mike Ruddock eras to the disappointments and failures of the Steve Hansen and Gareth Jenkins regimes, the reader is given an insider's version of what really went on.Carter does not shy away from controversy, and he pulls no punches in his assessment of the rift between Graham Henry and Sir Clive Woodward, the personal and political situation that led to Mike Ruddock losing his job, and the difficulty of handling the group dynamics within the national squad. The former analyst also provides an informed appraisal of the remarkable 2005 and 2008 Grand Slam victories.Winner of best rugby book at the 2009 British Sports Book Awards, Seeing Red provides a warts-and-all account of more than a decade of Welsh rugby and is packed with revelations, exclusive contributions and untold stories that will intrigue and delight all fans of the sport.

  • Billy Slater: From North Queensland to Melbourne Storm s Number One

    Billy Slater: From North Queensland to Melbourne Storm’s Number One
    John Ellicott

    Billy Slater’s achievements speak to his prodigious talent with premierships, State of Origin series wins, club best and fairest awards, Test caps, Player of the Year awards, and a Dally M Medal under his belt, he is regarded by many around the world as the finest full back of any era and possibly the greatest player the game has seen.As a small-for-his-age North Queensland lad Billy Slater nearly chose to be a jockey; his love of horses led him to Gai Waterhouse’s famous stables where he worked for a time. But a growth spurt and his increasing strength led him back to rugby league, a game he loved. Slater made his debut in 2003 and has played for Melbourne Storm ever since.Exhilarating and electrifying, Billy Slater is the player people come to the footy to watch: a true sports sensation.He is seriously special, and what’s more he’s a tremendous athlete. He’s about the best of his generation. Whether he’s playing for the Storm, Queensland or Australia … I’d pay anything to go and see him play. League Immortal Bob FultonJohn Ellicott is the author of Waterhouse & Smith: The power of two racing dynasties, A Year on the Punt and Uncommon Heroes of Rugby League. He has over two decades of experience as a journalist for some of Australia’s major newspapers.

  • Ronan O Gara: Unguarded

    Ronan O’Gara: Unguarded
    Ronan O’Gara

    Ronan O'Gara has been at the heart of Munster and Irish rugby for the past fifteen years. Now, as he comes to the end of a glittering playing career, it is time for him to reflect on those many successes and occasional failures with the straight-talking attitude that has become his trademark. Never one to shy away from the truth, the result is Ronan O'Gara: Unguarded.Packed full of anecdotes and analysis of the teammates O'Gara has been proud to share the shirt with, and of the coaches he has played under – often in controversial circumstances – this is the definitive record of an era when Munster rose to triumph in Europe, and Ireland to win the Grand Slam, before crashing down to earth again. It is simply the must-have rugby book of the year.

  • Will: The Autobiography of Will Greenwood

    Will: The Autobiography of Will Greenwood
    Will Greenwood

    Known as Shaggy to his mates, Greenwood is one of rugby's and international sport's most engaging, intelligent, outspoken and witty characters. A Lancastrian to the tips of this size 12 boots, the giant centre has been an automatic choice in the England XV since his debut against Australia in 1997. A few months earlier he looked set to become only the third uncapped Englishman to play for the British Lions when he came within a whisker of losing his life after he was speared to the ground in a heavy tackle, lost consciousness and swallowed his tongue. After taking several months to recover he quickly made an impact at international level following a widespread clamour in the press for his call-up to the England side. An elegant riposte to the old jibe that England rugby players lack guile and imagination, the Harlequins' and former Leicester centre has brought a shimmering, magical quality to his team's back play, opening up defences with clever angled running, superb distribution and a gravity-defying ability to stay up in the tackle. Greenwood also featured in England's doomed Rugby World Cup campaign in 1999 before playing a central role in the team's dramatic triumph in Australia four years later. His life off the pitch has been no less eventful, he and his wife Caro having experienced extreme despair and joy in recent years with the loss of one son, Freddie, and the birth of another, Archie.

  • The Iron Duke: Bobby Windsor - The Life and Times of a Working-Class Rugby Hero

    The Iron Duke: Bobby Windsor – The Life and Times of a Working-Class Rugby Hero
    Bobby Windsor

    Lions legend Bobby Windsor has enjoyed triumphs beyond the dreams of most international players but has also suffered personal tragedy. His rugby career as the best hooker in the British Isles during the second golden era of Welsh rugby in the 1970s is a turbulent tale of blood and thunder on the pitch. There are riotous incidents off the pitch, including unscheduled fights with professional boxers, revelations about illegal payments during the so-called amateur era and what Windsor did to upset the Establishment and become blackballed by one of the most famous clubs in the world.Windsor's irrepressible sense of humour comes shining through on every page, except when he gives chapter and verse on the personal crisis that drove him to plan suicide.The Iron Duke is the no-holds-barred, warts-and-all story of a working-class Welsh folk hero who rose from humble beginnings to become a permanent member of the greatest Lions team in the history of rugby union.

  • Jason Leonard: The Autobiography

    Jason Leonard: The Autobiography
    Jason Leonard

    Leonard’s story starts as rugby started – in the amateur days, when the Cockney Carpenter began playing for Barking and Saracens in the days before multi-million pound business owners and sponsorship deals. His big break came when he was invited to join the England squad for their tour to Argentina in 1990 and has been capped 100 times. It was a tour that precipitated one of the greatest periods in the history of the British game, and Leonard provides a compelling insight into life behind the international scenes with England and the Lions, as well as the domestic game through his time at Saracens and Harlequins. Once told that he would never walk again after undergoing life-saving surgery on his neck, Leonard describes the torment he went through during this period – both physical and financial – and how he fought against all the odds to re-establish himself on the international stage. With 100 Test caps won to date, and a career in rugby union spanning two decades, there is no more experienced player in the modern game. Leonard has plenty to tell about the people he has met during his career – Rob Andrew, Will Carling, Lawrence Dallaglio, Brian Moore, Dick Best and Clive Woodward all feature – and with nicknames like 'The Fun Bus' and 'The Scourge of the Barking Barmaids' the stories are as colourful and controversial as the man himself. All is revealed in this fascinating portrait of an English rugby legend.

  • Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

    Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation
    John Carlin

    Now filmed as INVICTUS directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2008As the day of the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup dawned, and the Springboks faced New Zealand's all-conquering All Blacks, more was at stake than a sporting trophy. When Nelson Mandela appeared wearing a Springboks jersey and led the all-white Afrikaner-dominated team in singing South Africa's new national anthem, he conquered the hearts of white South Africa. Playing the Enemy tells the extraordinary human story of how that moment became possible. It shows how a sport, once the preserve of South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking minority, came to unify the new rainbow nation, and tells of how – just occasionally – something as simple as a game really can help people to rise above themselves and see beyond their differences.

  • Roars from the Back of the Bus: Rugby Tales of Life with the Lions

    Roars from the Back of the Bus: Rugby Tales of Life with the Lions
    Stewart McKinney

    Roars from the Back of the Bus is an absorbing, amusing and at times moving collection of tales that give a rare insight into the camaraderie that exists between players at the top of their game, showing that relationships forged through experiences on a Lions tour last a lifetime. From the first Tour in 1888, it showcases characters with immense personality who fought together in wars or on rugby pitches in foreign lands, and who shared a bond developed through touring as representatives of the home nations. Despite the changes to the game after the advent of professionalism, the experiences of Jamie Heaslip, Brian O’Driscoll and Joe Worsley are still similar in some ways to those of earlier intrepid tourists like Blair Mayne, Lewis Jones, Sir Carl Aarvold or David Rollo. Containing defining memories and private insights from across the tours and the decades, Roars from the Back of the Bus shows that the Lions ethos remains strong at the heart of every team.

  • Once Were Lions: The Players’ Stories: Inside the World’s Most Famous Rugby Team

    Once Were Lions: The Players’ Stories: Inside the World’s Most Famous Rugby Team
    Jeff Connor

    Drawing on first hand interviews from more than 75 British Lions tourists since the golden age of the fifties, this book captures what it means to be a British Lions rugby player – the historic victories, the glorious failures and the stories surrounding the icons of rugby such as Edwards, Bennett, Hastings, Guscott, Dallaglio and Johnson. The British and Irish Lions are one of the most famous and recognised teams in world rugby. Every four years, the Lions – selected from the national sides of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – head to the southern hemisphere to do battle with either New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. In Once Were Lions, acclaimed sportswriter Jeff Connor interviews a host of players – from the oldest surviving Lions from the 1946 tour and the icons of the game to those who have become mere footnotes in history – and draws out the compelling human stories from each Test series. It’s a book that captures the ups and downs of tour life: the pride of being a Lion, the numerous personal feuds and the many humorous anecdotes, taking in the historic wins and the ignoble losses. Many Lions had their lives enriched by having worn the famous red jersey; an equal number had their lives changed irrevocably in the opposite direction. Full of previously unchronicled stories – Des O’Brien was away from home for nine months on the 1946 tour which almost cost him his marriage; while in 1966 one well-known English winger ‘went off tour’ with a woman he met in a bar and reappeared only for the last two matches – the book concludes with the disastrous 2005 New Zealand tour and trenchant opinions from the players on the controversial Clive Woodward. Thanks to a host of amusing and heart-breaking anecdotes about life with the Lions, the book offers a fascinating insight into how touring, sport and life has changed in the last 60 years.

  • Man and Ball: My Autobiography

    Man and Ball: My Autobiography
    Stephen Ferris

    SHORTLISTED FOR RUGBY BOOK OF THE YEAR AT THE BRITISH SPORTS BOOK AWARDS'When I came into the Ulster team,' Stephen Ferris says with typical candour, 'we were crap'. It was, however, preferable to his day job of paving driveways, and that day in 2005 saw the start of an incredible journey for Ferris, Ulster and Ireland rugby. A Celtic League title in his very first senior season with Ulster. A Grand Slam in 2009, followed by a sensational Lions breakthrough. A starring role in Ireland's greatest World Cup win, over Australia in 2011, when Ferris famously picked up Will Genia and carried him ten yards. And leading Ulster from nowhere to the Heineken Cup final.Stephen Ferris had an incredible rugby career, tragically ended by ankle injuries so severe they will never properly heal. He is an inspiration to the population of Ulster, an emblem of the sport that serves as such a positive expression of its culture and identity, and earned the respect and admiration of fans across Ireland for his strength, pace, skill and courage. Fearless, funny and full of an incredible array of stories from behind the scenes of Ulster, Ireland and the Lions, this is the must-have rugby book of the year.