Sunday, 20 September 2015

FACTUAL SPORTS REVIEW: The Oval World: A Global History of Rugby - Tony Collins

Release Date: 27/08/15
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Sport


Rugby has always been a sport with as much drama off the field as on it. For every thrilling last-minute Jonny Wilkinson drop-goal to win the World Cup or Jonah Lomu rampage down the touchline for a try there has been a split, a feud, or a controversy.

The Oval World is the first full-length history of rugby on a world scale from its origins in the village-based football games of medieval times to the globalized sport of the twenty-first century, now played over a hundred countries. It tells the story of how a game played in an obscure English public school became the winter sport of the British Empire, spreading to France, Argentina, Japan, and the rest of the world, and commanding a global television audience of over four billion for the last World Cup final. It also explores how American football and other games, such as Australian, Canadian, and Gaelic football emerged from their English cousin.

Featuring the great moments in the game s history and its legendary names David Duckham, Serge Blanco, Billy Boston, and David Campese, alongside Rupert Brooke, King George V, Boris Karloff, Charles de Gaulle, and Nelson Mandela The Oval World investigates just what it is about rugby that enables it to thrive in countries with very different traditions and cultures. This is the definitive world history of a truly global rugby.


As a grandson of a Rugby Fanatic I like to try my best to keep up with things and as such thought a book on the subject would not only give me snippets of factoids to throw at him but also help keep me up to speed with the sport. However whilst the book was full of information, one thing that really annoyed me was the fact that there were no images within. Yes you can describe things but as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Whilst it is well written and easy to follow alongside lovingly researched by the author all round I have to say that I was disappointed with the book. I wanted a bit more passion within to allow readers to really get the feel for the sport and what keeps many glued to the matches rather than just a book that didn’t exude this key sporting emotion.

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