In Size Doesn't Matter
, diminutive England rugby union star Neil Back tells the story of his career so far. It's a triumph-over-adversity tale, featuring some full-blooded clouts in the direction of those short-sighted types who frustrated his progress to the top.
An openside flanker who reintroduced forward mobility to the lumpen, though locally successful, England teams of the 90s, Back prompted purists to hail the realisation of Southern Hemisphere-style "15-man rugby". However, it's easy to forget that even as a top-class pro with Leicester, Back was once widely considered too small for the big time. Easy, that is, until you read Back's own account of his wilderness years--when Geoff Cooke and Jack Rowell were picking the England side--and the painstakingly collated testimony of press and fellow professionals that "prove" he should have been in the national 15 all along.
Geoff Cooke and Jack Rowell robbed me of years of international rugby and the honour of representing my country on many more occasions than I have. Not only that ... I found them narrow-minded, unimaginative and downright rude.
With the hefty weight of arguably reasonable recriminations off his chest, Back turns out to be an entertaining chronicler of his career--tours of South Africa with both the British Lions and England, the 1999 World Cup and the Six Nations are all covered in detail. He gives us insights into the workings of winning and losing teams, and straight-talking assessments of the players he has lined up with, and up against. But he is at his most interesting when striking a blow for the "little fella", and targets such as the public school network and the big-money has-been foreign players getting a leg-up at British clubs get short shrift. --Alex Hankin
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
now released in a revised and updated paperback format, this is the story of one of British rugby's greatest-ever forwards. Neil Back has scored more tries than any other member of an English pack. Eulogised by team-mates, feared by opponents and loved by supporters, he is acknowledged as the most dynamic flanker in the world game. In a book that 'hits as hard as one of his tackles' (Daily Mail), Back describes how for years he was ignored by coaches who felt he was too small for international rugby. He describes his single-minded dedication to prove his detractors wrong and records the triumphs and disappointments of British Lions tours, Six Nations campaigns and life with the all-conquering Leicester Tigers. In doing so, he reveals the 'human side to a superhuman player' (Inside Sport). The paperback contains fresh accounts of the Lions tour to South Africa in 2001 - including Back's views on controversial coach Graham Henry - and recent Six Nations championships, including his elevation to the England captaincy. He also gives his views on the current crop of England stars.