Surprising that it took me so long to get around to this as I've enjoyed a lot of Collins' TV contributions to RL shows. It was just about worth the wait - a passionate, diligently-researched piece that provides some valuable insights into the game's troubled past (notably its enforced formation) and the obstacles placed in its way over the years. The subsequent chapters (about halfway in) dealing with the pre-split game's formation alongside soccer and RU's response to the Northern Union breakaway are pretty much a vital read for any UK sport fan.
On the down side, while the book is pretty much chronological, the chapters are more distinct than they need to be and often repeat points made elsewhere. Collins does explain that they're a series of individual essays sort of "cobbled together" so this is understandable, however with a little extra time afforded to the project I feel the material could have been crafted into something more flowing and enjoyable, without losing its informative edge. It does feel like reading a series of individual essays, basically because you are. Also a minor point but there are an awful number of grammatical errors. I didn't find a misspelling anywhere but there are lots of sentences missing a key word, sometimes even in closing paragraphs. The book would thus benefit from a proof read and reissue.
On the whole though, a very worthwhile read for anyone interested in RL or even the wider social climate of the UK in the late 1800s and early 1900s. RL's really is a tremendously uplifting, at times very sad story born of vile class exclusion and characterised by repeatedly battling against difficult odds (that the sport even exists at all you will consider a triumph by the final page) and Collins captures this with a good, passionate - occasionally justifiably angry - tone that makes for a fine read.