Simon Shaw has played more professional matches than any other player in English rugby history, which is remarkable given that he didn't pick up a rugby ball until he was 16. With a World Cup winner's medal in 2003, a runners-up medal in the 2007 competition, fifty England caps and ten trophies won with London Wasps, the ultimate Lion, Shaw is one of the biggest names in rugby.
Yet he has experienced his fair share of disappointments. Sir Clive Woodward delivered the lowest blow, dropping him from the World Cup squad in 2003, although he'd been named man of the match in the final warm-up fixture against Wales. Shaw eventually joined the England squad in Australia, replacing the injured Danny Grewcock, and was subsequently handed a winner's medal in Sydney. But while Shaw partied with the rest of the players, he couldn't forget that he was merely a late addition who hadn't played for a single minute during the tournament.
In Simon Shaw - The Hard Yards: My Story, the 6 ft 9 in. lock forward recounts his bittersweet memories of that time and charts his eventful rise to the top, from the early days playing for Bristol to lasting success at both club and international level. He talks openly about his England career, reveals why he believes he was a better player than his arch-rival for the England number 4 jersey, Martin Johnson, and takes us inside the England and Wasps dressing-rooms armed with his razor-sharp sense of humour and cutting put-downs.
Simon Shaw is a big man with an even bigger story to tell, and no stone is left unturned in this candid autobiography.