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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.
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
Warren 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 wonderfully candid and vibrant record of the withering ferocity, the turbulent peaks and troughs, the triumphs and despairs, of 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.
**Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014** 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.
Absolutely Huge is a spoof biography of a fictional Welsh rugby player, Gethin 'Huge' Hughes. Mimicking the standard sports biography format, the book explores the highs and lows of his remarkable and often controversial career both on and off the pitch. An affectionate satire on Welsh rugby and the media hype that surrounds it. -- Welsh Books Council
An unprecedented number of exclusive contributions by star names past and present feature within the action-packed IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2014. Will Greenwood, Joel Stransky, Ian Jones, Matt Burke, Martyn Williams, Chris Paterson and Sergio Parisse provide a personal perspective of their country's 2012/13 season, reliving the highs and lows on and off the pitch. Warren Gatland looks back on the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and the keys to securing a first series win for the tourists since 1997. The Yearbook also reviews the Chiefs' successful Super Rugby title defence through the eyes of co-captain Liam Messam, while Nick Kennedy takes us through Toulon's historic Heineken Cup campaign. Nigel Starmer-Smith looks back over another record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series, while Keith Quinn gives a perspective on New Zealand's double delight at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow and ScrumQueens.com editor Ali Donnelly reviews the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series and an historic year for women's rugby. With more than 600 pages of features, analysis, tournament reviews, opinion, results, statistics and records, the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2014 is an essential publication for Rugby fans around the world. The IRB World Rugby Yearbook is quite simply the most comprehensive rugby yearbook on the planet. The Daily Telegraph
Bumper Rugby World Cup 2015 review edition of the acclaimed World Rugby Yearbook, the ever-popular and utterly comprehensive review of the rugby year. The World Rugby Yearbook 2016 is the largest edition of the book to date. It includes a comprehensive review of Rugby World Cup 2015 - the biggest and best tournament to date with more than 2.4 million fans attending the matches and watched in 780 million homes. Acclaimed journalist, Stephen Jones, provides his own personal reflection on the event and the book includes all the results and statistics from an amazing seven weeks of rugby. Aside from Rugby World Cup 2015, the World Rugby Yearbook 2016 will also include a complete round-up of world rugby; including country by country records and statistics for every World Cup nation (including the result of every international match played in 2015), international rugby records, and reviews and records of each of the major rugby competitions including the RBS 6 Nations, The Rugby Championship, HSBC Sevens World Series, World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, European Rugby Champions Cup, Super Rugby, Aviva Premiership and Guinness PRO12. Crammed full of features from respected figures such as Joel Stransky, George Gregan, Ian Jones, Martyn Williams, Ben Ryan, Mauro Bergamasco, Nasi Manu, Nigel Owens and Melodie Robinson; as well as a wealth of fascinating fact and figures, the World Rugby Yearbook 2016 really is the most comprehensive guide to rugby available today.
Based on exclusive interviews with players past and present, Behind the Thistle gives a unique insight into the drama and emotion of representing Scotland in that most rarefied of environments - Test match rugby. Drawing on first-hand interviews from a vast array of former and current players, from Russell Bruce and Frank Coutts in the 1940s, all the way through to the present day, the authors uncover the heart and soul of Scottish rugby, recounting the ecstasy of victory and the despair of defeat, drawing out innumerable humorous anecdotes and heart-warming memories. Behind the Thistle presents an inside access to the private moments in the changing and team rooms, on tour, and on the pitch itself. From the tension before kick-off to the tumultuous heat-of-battle and the high-jinx thereafter, this is the story of what it is like to play for Scotland, the sacrifices and joys experienced by those who have shed blood, sweat and tears in pursuit of glory in the international jersey. Absorbing, illuminating and compelling, this is a must-have for all supporters who have dreamed the dream of playing for Scotland.
Carwyn James treated rugby football as if it was an art form and aesthetics part of the coaching manual. This son of a miner, from Cefneithin in the Gwendraeth Valley, was a cultivated literary scholar, an accomplished linguist, a teacher, and a would-be patriot politician, who also won two caps for Wales. He was the first man to coach any British Lions side to overseas victory, and still the only one to beat the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand. That was in 1971, and it was followed in 1972 by the triumph of his beloved Llanelli against the touring All Blacks at Stradey Park. These were the high-water marks of a life of complexity and contradiction. His subsequent and successful career as broadcaster and journalist and then a return to the game as a coach in Italy never quite settled his restless nature. After his sudden death, alone in an Amsterdam hotel, his close friend, the Pontypridd-born writer, Alun Richards set out through what he called "A Personal Memoir" to reflect on the enigma that had been Carwyn.The result, a masterpiece of sports writing, is a reflection on the connected yet divergent cultural forces which had shaped both the rugby coach and the author; a dazzling sidestep of an essay in both social and personal interpretation.
What colour jerseys did the Lions first play in? Which of the four home nations has been represented in every Lions test team? When did Ugandan dictator Idi Amin line up against the Lions? "The British & Irish Lions Miscellany" is crammed with 120 years worth of amazing facts, stats, stories, lists and quotes from the rich history of the oldest and greatest touring team in the sporting world. It includes: the complete story of every Lions tour; the Lion nicknamed 'Judith'; the Lion killed by a rhino; the tour when the Lions played Aussie Rules; the Lion invited to audition for Ben Hur; and, the Greatest Ever Lions XV.
The essential authority for Rugby fans around the world, the Yearbook looks back on an action-packed year coupling insightful writing with in-depth statistics, reviews and features creating an 'access all areas' ticket to the world Game. Over 600 pages of features, analysis, tournament reviews, opinions, results, statistics and records, the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2010 also features an insider's guide to the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa from former Lion and 2009 Tour Manager Gerald Davies, a review of the IOC decision to include Rugby Sevens in the Olympic Games and a reflection on Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai. With dedicated sections on the top 20 nations in the IRB World Rankings, the Yearbook also looks forward to Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and predicts the Game's biggest winners and losers in 2010.
From try scoring records to controversial celebrations, Chris Ashton has had an amazing year. Announcing his star presence with an awesome 85-metre try against Australia, Chris burst onto the scene and has lit up Twickenham. In his new book he delves into the England rugby team's renaissance, a victorious Six Nations campaign, the build-up to the Rugby World Cup and the tournament itself in New Zealand. From dynamic tries on the pitch to behind-the-scenes life on tour, this is the story of England's Rugby World Cup journey from the player everyone is talking about.
Hear the story of the rise of one of Irish rugby's great outsiders and, ultimately, his crushing fall. As the longest-serving national coach in Irish rugby history, Eddie O'Sullivan produced a team that rose to third in the world rankings and laid down the standards for the team to fulfil its Grand Slam potential. Added to the three Triple Crowns he won in his six-year reign and the Corkman ought to enjoy legendary status in his homeland. Yet, few figures in Irish sport divide opinion quite like O'Sullivan. Ireland's abject performance at the '07 World Cup in France prompted extraordinary levels of criticism and precipitated O'Sullivan's fall. Here O'Sullivan talks candidly of the spectacular unravelling of confidence within probably the best Irish team in history; of the bizarre rumour mill that followed the Irish team through that World Cup; and takes us behind the scenes of a story that tossed an entire nation into mourning. From his relationships with his successor as Irish coach, Declan Kidney, and indeed his predecessor, Warren Gatland, to his early struggle for recognition in the Irish game when the absence of a traditional rugby background militated against him, O'Sullivan pulls no punches in this revelatory story about far more than rugby.
From the myth of William Webb Ellis to the glory of the 2003 World Cup win, this book explores the social history of rugby union in England.
Ever since Tom Brown s Schooldays the sport has seen itself as the guardian of traditional English middle-class values. In this fascinating new history, leading rugby historian Tony Collins demonstrates how these values have shaped the English game, from the public schools to mass spectator sport, from strict amateurism to global professionalism.
Based on unprecedented access to the official archives of the Rugby Football Union, and drawing on an impressive array of sources from club minutes to personal memoirs and contemporary literature, the book explores in vivid detail the key events, personalities and players that have made English rugby.
From an era of rapid growth at the end of the nineteenth century, through the terrible losses suffered during the First World War and the subsequent rush to rugby in the public and grammar schools, and into the periods of disorientation and commercialisation in the 1960s through to the present day, the story of English rugby union is also the story of the making of modern England.
Like all the very best writers on sport, Tony Collins uses sport as a prism through which to better understand both culture and society. A ground-breaking work of both social history and sport history, A Social History of English Rugby Union tells a fascinating story of sporting endeavour, masculine identity, imperial ideology, social consciousness and the nature of Englishness.
'When my legs went from underneath me and my breath stopped coming, just minutes before we were due to go live on The Voice, I knew this was panic at its worst. Yet in the midst of the madness, something became clear. If I got through this, the secret I had guarded for years with all my life could not remain secret for much longer ...' In his book, Niall Breslin speaks openly about living with depression and anxiety, and his crippling journey to finally acknowledging 'Jeffrey' - the name he chose for it - years after he took the decision to conceal his growing mental health issues from the world, at age 15. Told with raw honesty, it is a story of the demons that lay beneath outward success, and how they impacted on his career in sports and later music, as he coped with a condition that at times seemed hell bent on wrecking everything in its wake. It is also the story of a road to reconciliation with brokenness - beginning after a massive panic attack before a live TV appearance in 2012 - leading to brighter horizons. Me and My Mate Jeffrey is an essential book for anyone who knows what it is to feel alone, and who doesn't know how to ask for help - or anyone who wants to better understand that journey.
In his book, Niall Breslin speaks openly about living with depression and anxiety, and his crippling journey to finally acknowledging 'Jeffrey' - the name he chose for it - years after he took the decision to conceal his growing mental health issues from the world, at age 15. Told with raw honesty, it is a story of the demons that lay beneath outward success, and how they impacted on his career in sports and later music, as he coped with a condition that at times seemed hell bent on wrecking everything in its wake. It is also the story of a road to reconciliation with brokenness - beginning after a massive panic attack before a live TV appearance in 2012 - leading to brighter horizons. Me and My Mate Jeffrey is an essential book for anyone who knows what it is to feel alone, and who doesn't know how to ask for help - or anyone who wants to better understand that journey.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018 The 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.
No city in England can match Gloucester's passion for the game of rugby. The streets are festooned in cherry and white on match days and that famous cry of `Glaw . . . sterrr' can be heard far beyond the club's Kingsholm ground. This book illustrates what makes Gloucester Rugby Club so special. It features revealing and humorous interviews with some of the greats (including, to name but a few, Mike Teague, John Watkins and Ian Smith), historical facts, trivia, stats and stories, told by those who pulled on that famous shirt. It recalls the great matches, the cup wins, the highs, and also some of the lows.It highlights what it means to play for Gloucester, a club steeped in tradition, pride and sporting excellence.
When Britain's empire went to war in August 1914, rugby players were the first to volunteer: they led from the front and paid a disproportionate price. When the Armistice came after four long years, their war game was over; even as the last echo of the guns of November faded, it was time to play rugby again. As Allied troops of all nations waited to return home, sport occupied their minds and bodies. In 1919, a grateful Mother Country hosted a rugby tournament for the King's Cup, to be presented by King George V at Twickenham Stadium. It was a moment of triumph, a celebration of military victory, of Allied unity and of rugby values, moral and physical. Never before had teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Britain and France been assembled in one place. Rugby held the first ever `World Cup' - football would not play its own version until 1930. In 2015 the modern Rugby World Cup returns to England and Twickenham as the world remembers the Centenary of the Great War. With a foreword by Jason Leonard, this is the story of rugby's journey through the First World War to its first World Cup, and how those values endure today.
This is the incredible story of Brian 'Stack' Stevens, born in a remote former mining area of Cornwall with no sporting background, yet found he had an exceptional talent for rugby. When still a teenager, he was playing against established international players but, with Penzance being cut off from the rugby mainstream, he would have very little recognition for a decade. At twenty-eight, following some outstanding county matches for Cornwall, he was at last given an England trial. He won twenty-five full international caps for England over the next six years, including famous wins over the top southern hemisphere teams; he also scored the winning try against the All Blacks in Auckland and represented the British Lions in New Zealand. He was under constant pressure from his father, who needed him at home on the farm, and this prevented him going on a second Lions tour. He temporarily signed for Harlequins to the dismay of his local club Penzance & Newlyn, and had to travel overnight to London for England training and Harlequins matches by hitching a lift on a broccoli lorry to Covent Garden and then back again afterwards. Stack is still very much a favoured son throughout Cornwall, where the locals see him as 'one of their own'. He continued to run the farm after his father died, and became an England selector when he finally stopped playing. In recent years he has suffered from a serious neurological condition but as ever he continues to battle against the odds. This book has been written with the full cooperation of Brian and his family by someone who played with him, and who remains a friend.
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