5 Riveting Rugby Reads

Rugby fans are bound to devour these five books recommended by Ultimate Library. From the inspirational story about Catherine Spencer, who captained England women’s rugby to ‘Rugby’s Strongest Matches’ that is a collection of the most outlandish rugby stories over the last 150 years, make sure you put these on your gift list for Christmas.

1. Rise by Siya Kolisi

There have been many comments made and books written about Siya Kolisi, captain of the Springboks, and the first black man to lead his country in over 128 years of South African rugby. But now, for the very first time, Kolisi shares his story in an extraordinarily intimate memoir, charting his journey from being born into the impoverished Zwide township, to leading his proud nation to an astonishing victory at the Rugby World Cup in 2019.


2. Rugby’s Strangest Matches by John Griffiths

Rugby fans will delight in this astonishing collection of outlandish stories from the past 150 years. Here you’ll find, among many other curious events, the Irish international who arranged his marriage to play against England, the team of top soccer players who beat their rugby counterparts at their own game, and the day the entire Wales team was sent off. The tales in this book are bizarre, fascinating, and, most importantly, true.

Rugby’s Strangest Matches

3. Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream by Ben Ryan

The uplifting and inspirational autobiography of Ben Ryan, the coach of the gold-medal winning Fijian rugby team. Following the story of how one team rose to fame and success despite no money and few resources, this book shows that really there is no one who plays rugby like Pacific Islanders.

Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream

4. Mud, Maul, Mascara: When Fighting for a Dream Can Make You and Break You by Catherine Spencer

Catherine Spencer captained the England women’s rugby team to three championship titles, a European cup, two Nations Cup tournament victories and the World Cup final. All of this while holding down a full-time job, because the women’s team, unlike the men’s, did not get paid for their sport. Mud, Maul, Mascara is an effort to reconcile alleged opposites, to show the woman behind the international sporting success.

TMud, Maul, Mascara: When Fighting for a Dream Can Make You and Break You

5. Facing the Haka by Andy Burt and Jamie Wall

This brilliant selection of photographs and stories describes what it means to stare down the most famous ritual in sport, from the perspective of those who have been there. Facing the Haka examines the significance that the All Blacks’ haka has in the wider rugby world, as well as the deep respect opponents have for the team. This is about standing in front of the haka, meeting the All Blacks on those key occasions, and reliving the stories of the games that followed.

Facing the Haka

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