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Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Stephen Jones , Tom English , Nick Cain , David Barnes
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 8.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Sep 2014
For 125 years the British & Irish Lions have stood out as a unique emblem in world sport. They represent the best of the best from the four Home Nations, coming together every four years under a united badge to take on the rugby greats of the Southern Hemisphere. Lions tours embody a revered legacy that is steeped in tradition yet maintains a vibrant standing in the modern era. The Lions badge is a symbol of the ethics, values and the romance at the heart of Test match rugby. Every four years the rugby world's focus is drawn to a great red pilgrimage as the Lions embark on a brutal and exhilarating tour that challenges the very limits of their rugby ability and the strengths of their characters. They travel to the far reaches of the earth to confront the great powers in the world game - and the weight of history itself. Behind the Lions sees four esteemed rugby writers from each of the Home Nations delve to the heart of what it means to be a Lion, interviewing a vast array of former tourists to uncover the passion, pride and exhilaration experienced when wearing the famous red jersey. It is a tale of heart-break and ecstasy, humour and poignancy that is at once inspirational, moving and utterly compelling. This is the story of the British & Irish Lions - in their own words.

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Frequently Bought Together

Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions + Lions Triumphant: The Captain's Story + The British & Irish Lions 2013: Lions Raw (behind the scenes documentary) DVD
Price For All Three: 23.03

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn; 2 edition (4 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909715042
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909715042
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,168,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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More About the Authors

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Product Description


'A must for rugby lovers of any generation' --East Cork Journal

'utterly compelling' --Rugby World

'comfortably the most interesting and entertaining history of the Lions' --Irish Times

About the Author

Stephen Jones is a multi award-winning 'The Sunday Times' rugby correspondent and world-renowned rugby expert. He is the author of several books on the sport, including 'Lion Man: The Autobiography of Ian McGeechan', 'Midnight Rugby: Triumph and Shambles in the Professional Era', and 'Endless Winter: Inside Story of the Rugby Revolution' which was the winner of the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. Tom English is the award-winning chief sports writer for the 'Scotland on Sunday' and has been voted Scottish Sport's Feature Writer of the Year by the Scottish Press Association for three years running. He has held posts with 'The Sunday Times', 'Sunday Express' and 'The Scotsman'. He won Rugby Book of the Year at the 2010 British Sports Book Awards for his novel, 'The Grudge'. Nick Cain is a rugby columnist for 'The Sunday Times' and chief writer for 'The Rugby Paper'. He edited Rugby World magazine for nine years, and is the co-author of 'The Lions Diary' with Jeremy Guscott and 'Rugby Union for Dummie's. David Barnes is a freelance journalist, covering rugby for various newspapers. He is the co-author of Jim Renwick's autobiography, 'Centre of Excellence', and the co-author of 'Behind the Thistle: Playing Rugby for Scotland', published in 2010.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for rugby fans 20 Nov 2012
Something of a Who's Who of Lions rugby, this is a totally gripping story, told in their own words, by dozens and dozens of the greats in the history of the Lions. The authors have done a superb job, not only in the depth and breadth of their research, but in the balance with which they have put the book together. Not only are all the highs and the lows a hugely enjoyable and entertaining read, but the spread of players interviewed from each country is equal, so that fans will never feel their own country's players are under-represented. All are legends and heroes of the game. This book has solved my Christmas gift problem for all my rugby-loving family and friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read from start to finish 20 Nov 2012
By Maria
Far-ranging, poignant, hilarious, inspiring - this book has it all. It's impossible not to get excited by the prospect of a Lions tour when reading - it makes the whole history of the team more real. All the memories from watching past tours come flooding back, and hearing the stories from the men who have been there and done it makes them all the more magical. This is the finest book on the Lions I have read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lions Roar! 14 Nov 2012
Superbly researched and brilliantly told, one of the best rugby books I've read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and only wish I could still play myself! - Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars factual. insight on the lions, 15 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
down to earth presentation of the lions tours,offering unbiased points of view from the players and the management from the humble beginnings and basic arrangements of players welfare,venues,during the tours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All Rugby Enthusiasts 14 Nov 2012
An amazing read and a lovely book to either read from start to finish or just to delve into at your fancy. Each of the 28 tours the Lions have been on are given their own dedicated chapter - and the photographs spread throughout are just a delight (and there are literally hundreds of them). The production of the book is of the highest quality. Copies are being ordered right now as presents! Any rugby fan will love this, Lions fans especially.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First choice! 8 Nov 2012
The authors have managed to get a mind-boggling amount of first-hand interviews - an inspired decision to have them all working together to get as many accounts as possible, straight from the mouths of the guys who have gone and done it and experienced playing for this iconic team. The research done to bring the first tours to life are amazing - this is no dry history, where you might skip the early chapters to get into the modern era. You want to read every account, from first to last. I love the idea of the early tourists taking it seriously by `only' drinking four glasses of champagne at lunch before a match! Amazing insights.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well played! 8 Nov 2012
A perfectly-timed history of the Lions - just as the excitement is building towards 2013 - and what makes this even better is that it is a history of the Lions like no other. The authors have done an extraordinary job to tell this story primarily in the players' words - from all the superstars of the modern era, right back to the very first tourists in 1888. Their research to dig up letters, diaries and old newspaper articles for the early tourists is just astounding - and casts a light on the early tours like no other. I can't recommend this enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Informative 28 Jun 2013
By Zizou
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A really fascinating look at the history of Rugby's most famous touring team. The format of the book really brings the subject to life with lots of anecdotes from former players and coaches. A great series of photographs throughout. Recommended reading for any Rugby fan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect rugby present
Bought this for my husband, as he went to Australia to watch the lions Tour.
He really enjoyed it and is a lasting memory to keep.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs FIONA IVEY
5.0 out of 5 stars a present for youngest son
He was delighted to receive this book, he rates it highly.
a rugby player in his youth a great follower of rugby, he
says this really is the book of the lions tour
Published 5 months ago by anthony good
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift
Got this as a gift for a rugby loving relative who is very hard to buy for. This book ticked all the boxes
Published 5 months ago by Damien
4.0 out of 5 stars Lions stories...
The wealth of the book is in its real-time stories from people who were on the tours. Excellent access to sources!
Published 8 months ago by Rhys Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars The best behind the scenes DVD you could wish for
Truely excellent. I have seen this years before and it recaptured the passion and intensity of a Lions tour and what it means to a Lion. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed History of Lions Tours
Thoroughly enjoyed the read. It gave good insights into the history and tradition of the tours. My only complaint is the players comments at the end of each tour seemed disjointed... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Raymond J Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the lions
Excellent read,really enjoyable. Packed full of facts and figures,and great to hear the accounts of the men who were there
Published 11 months ago by alan wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Fascinating book on the complete history of the Lions,a must for every rugby fan.The stories and anectodes are excellent and well written-I've read other Lions books but this one... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gareth Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Lions
Great read a must read for all fans of the great historical institutions that is the British & Irish Lions
Published 12 months ago by T.L.Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for rugby fans
For lovers of rugby and of a certain age this book must be at the top of the tree. Hugely entertaining and gets you inside the mind of a Lions tourist. Read more
Published 13 months ago by RB28
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