Or why it's never a good idea to ask a rugby player to show you his tackle?
“The game of rugby is essentially a warm and welcoming family, albeit one that is mildly dysfunctional and has a massive drink problem.”
“What happens on tour normally also goes on Facebook, Twitter and, if you are not very careful, your criminal record.”
“In the northern industrial towns, rugby became almost as popular as whippet racing, pigeon fancying and modelling for Lowry paintings.”
Steve Gauge played the least amount of rugby he could get away with at school in Wimbledon, South London, before perfecting the art of avoiding games masters and any sporting activity whatsoever. A few decades later, as part of a comprehensive midlife crisis, he found himself as captain of the third-worst rugby side in Surrey, Warlingham forth XV. In the heroic weekly efforts to assemble a team, he bribed, bullied and cajoled some deeply unfit and very unwilling men of all shapes and sizes to have a go at picking up an oval ball and running with it. He also unhelpfully extended the careers of several other players who really should have retired sooner.
Unable to survive on a meagre earnings from the sales of his first rugby book, My Life as a Hooker, Steven is hard at work in the rough and tumble world of political consultancy. He feels a lot safer there than at the bottom of a heaving pile of 15 malodorous and overweight men.
Discover how rugby’s roots lie in the first recorded example of cheating at football. And how learning to talk balls can actually be fun.