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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insider's look at the sport
John Daniell talks mostly here about a year with the Montpellier team, recently promoted to the first division, but always struggling to avoid relegation to the second division. Daniell is in his middle 30's, and has passed his prime: this will be, in fact, his last year as a professional rugby player. The book dscribes the players, the personalities. the fans, the...
Published on 24 May 2008 by David W. Straight

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story on the French game
I recently bought and read this book based on some of the reviews I had seen.

This book seemed to get a lot more hype than it was worth. Sure there were some interesting insights to the game but I don't think this compares as well as Jason Robinson's book, Martin Johnson's book or even John Smit's book.
Possibly not being as well know as some of the...
Published on 4 Jan 2011 by TJ Birchall


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insider's look at the sport, 24 May 2008
By 
David W. Straight (knoxville, tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary (Paperback)
John Daniell talks mostly here about a year with the Montpellier team, recently promoted to the first division, but always struggling to avoid relegation to the second division. Daniell is in his middle 30's, and has passed his prime: this will be, in fact, his last year as a professional rugby player. The book dscribes the players, the personalities. the fans, the owners, etc. The top clubs have the largest payrolls, and hire the top professionals--the one downside here is that often these players are called for Cup matches and other tournaments, and so may not be available for the club matches. Everything is taken very seriously.

The book recounts the injuries. "La fourchette" is colloquial for "eye-gouge", a popular and effective tactic in rucks and scrums with only one referee present. Daniell has resorted to la fourchette on occasion himself. The book notes that good sportsmanship is known to the French as "le fairplay"--there is no native French word for the concept. Daniell describes his own injuries over the years--a dozen broken noses, ruptured eardrum, dislocated collarbone, cauliflower ears, and more. He considers himself relatively injury-free compared to most pros. He says that of the 600 professional rugby players in France (many, like himself, are non-French), about 100 are out with injuries at any given time. If you watch rugby DVDs you'll see a lot of heavily-bandaged ears--bites, boots, elbows, etc, have not been kind.

Daniell writes very well, and has a fine self-deprecating sense of humor. He understands that he was never a star, but rather a decent journeyman lock, and there are plenty of younger, fitter players who want his job. Getting to the end of the line--usually in your early- or mid-30's, can often be cruel. Daniell describes a former pro whose boss offered him a job filling ice buckets at 5% of his former salary. Daniell's book reminds me of a wonderful baseball movie Bull Durham, with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. It's about life in the minor leagues, scripted with detail and attention by Ron Shelton, himself a former minor league baseball player. There is no exciting pennant race--it's about a struggle for survival, and being able to finish with some dignity. Inside French Rugby has much the same flavor of survival and dignity, and being able to try to make a graceful exit. Daniell has enormous talent, both as a writer and as an observer, and Inside French Rugby exemplifies those talents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight..., 1 Dec 2008
By 
Dr. Dc Walsh "Deco." (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary (Paperback)
This is a really great book. The reality of being a professional rugby player is excellently described, and the book's setting (in France) adds extra interest, especially if like me you only have a cursory knowledge of French rugby.
I couldn't put this down, and everyone I lent it to thought it was brilliant.
A super book to get a rugby playing Dad/Husband/Boyfriend for Christmas!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story on the French game, 4 Jan 2011
By 
TJ Birchall (Weybridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary (Paperback)
I recently bought and read this book based on some of the reviews I had seen.

This book seemed to get a lot more hype than it was worth. Sure there were some interesting insights to the game but I don't think this compares as well as Jason Robinson's book, Martin Johnson's book or even John Smit's book.
Possibly not being as well know as some of the international players John Daniell could have offered up a bit more about himself rather than some of the fairly safe observations and thoughts.
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Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary
Inside French Rugby: Confessions of a Kiwi Mercenary by John Daniell (Paperback - 1 Jun 2007)
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