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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inside story of one of England's greatest sporting triumphs
This is a very impressive account of the unique approach to management that Woodward brought to the England job. The style is vigorous and pacy and a welter of interesting background detail is unobtrusively woven into the narrative. It is something of a challenge to pull off a hybrid between a straight account of a sporting campaign and a study of management and...
Published 18 months ago by T. D. Johnstone

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but doesn't dig deep enough
Others have loved this, so I wanted to put another point of view.
First, it's about a subject matter that appeals to me: sport, business insights into sport and arguably English sport's greatest triumph of the last ten years, so I'm biased to like it.
As an account of how this happened, it's an enjoyable read, and he has got a few new sources e.g. Roger...
Published 17 months ago by R. S. Stanier


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inside story of one of England's greatest sporting triumphs, 22 Nov. 2013
By 
T. D. Johnstone (Roslin, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: White Gold: Englandís Journey to Rugby World Cup Glory (Kindle Edition)
This is a very impressive account of the unique approach to management that Woodward brought to the England job. The style is vigorous and pacy and a welter of interesting background detail is unobtrusively woven into the narrative. It is something of a challenge to pull off a hybrid between a straight account of a sporting campaign and a study of management and organisational techniques, but the author achieves this triumphantly and it turns out to be a thrilling read. All the background detail about Woodward's previous career and personality breathes life into aspects of management that would otherwise be dry and technical. The analysis of how Woodward works and gets his players to respond is absolutely fascinating.

Though, as other reviewers have said,the style is at times almost novelistic like other books in this genre like The Damned United, this makes for great readability, while in the author in fact sticks closely and accurately to what is actually on the record.

Bringing it out to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the World Cup win is an excellent move, as it makes available to fans, players and coaches the inside story of the planning, the dedicated professionalism and the personalities that lie behind one of England's greatest sporting triumphs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing back golden memories, 22 Nov. 2013
Can't believe it's been a decade since we saw those boys in white make our dreams come true! Just finished White Gold, and it's simply one of the best sports books I've ever read, never mind rugby books.
Without getting too technical and wordy, it's a great in-depth analysis of how Woodward's dream team triumphed against the Ozzies, and it brings back memories of those incredibly tense matches in breath-taking detail - will we ever see the likes again? I hope so!
Buy this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely outstanding, 5 Nov. 2013
Reading this constantly sent shivers down my spine - it is one of the best sports books I've ever read. It looks at a very well-known story in a way that it's never been told before and the style of the writing is utterly compelling - there is a mix of interview material, traditional sports history and biography mixed in with novelised scenes which bring an incredible immediacy to the story and makes it a page-turner all the way through. I can't recommend this highly enough. Magnificent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings it all back, 22 Nov. 2013
Memories of England's World Cup triumph came flooding back when I read this fascinating account. It wasn't just the dramatic final that gripped my attention but the way Woodward plotted his campaign in the years preceding was utterly engrossing. The writing style adopts techniques more commonly used in fiction to good effect giving the narrative drama and immediacy.
A great read and I'd thoroughly recommend any England supporter and indeed any fan of sport to buy this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 Nov. 2013
Written with energy and enthusiasm, White Gold brings to life the England team's journey in the years leading up to the 2003 World Cup. When Clive Woodward was appointed as England manager he introduced a new way of coaching and a new style of playing to the team - a move that was difficult but ultimately worth it. This book explores his influences and inspirations, and includes scientific analysis of coaching techniques as well as players' potential genetic and biological advantages. But this is not a dry sports book - the dedication and work all involved with the England squad put in is staggering, and we go through each emotional success and failure with them in the lead-up to the World Cup. The game descriptions are vivid and and the rundown of the final between England and Australia is dramatic and, even though we know how it ends, somehow full of suspense! I really loved this and highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all sports fans, 28 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: White Gold: Englandís Journey to Rugby World Cup Glory (Kindle Edition)
This is a phenomenal book with great attention to detail. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who is a true sports fan. The story highlights the environment created for England Rugby to become one of the most elite sports team on the planet and the rollercoaster ride to the summit. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignites the memories., 21 Nov. 2013
Up there with the best sports books I've read (and I've read the lot!). A real achievement. Really tugs on the heart strings and brings the memories of that wonderful day flooding back.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 9 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: White Gold: Englandís Journey to Rugby World Cup Glory (Kindle Edition)
A very good read. Highly recommended to any sports or rugby fan. If you want to know the background to the 2003 World Cup win then this is the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good England rugby book, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: White Gold: Englandís Journey to Rugby World Cup Glory (Kindle Edition)
This is an interesting book. It pulls together a variety of sources and explains the England journey to the rugby world cup 2003
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but doesn't dig deep enough, 6 Jan. 2014
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Others have loved this, so I wanted to put another point of view.
First, it's about a subject matter that appeals to me: sport, business insights into sport and arguably English sport's greatest triumph of the last ten years, so I'm biased to like it.
As an account of how this happened, it's an enjoyable read, and he has got a few new sources e.g. Roger Uttley.
However, the basic flaws are that, for an aim at a 'definitive' account, he hasn't got enough sources, and where he does, he isn't sufficiently critical of them.
Almost all of the good bits here were established in Clive Woodward's own "Winning!", and Burns just trots them out. Hence the story about Jason Robinson's shirt being an example of marginal gains (even uncritically copying out Woodward's own verdict of his email to Nike requesting new shirt design becoming a 'legend' in the company: was it really?); Jonny Wilkinson's practice sessions; Woodward picking up the credit card bill when switching hotels in South Africa and winning over the players. If this is new to you, then this book is worth your reading, but otherwise it will hold few surprises.
Worse than that, Burns doesn't dig where he could afford to do so. For example, just before the 1999 World Cup, Woodward took the players out on an army exercise and reviewed with the army officers afterwards who the best people were, and also the opposite: who were likely to hold back the group. In his autobiography, Woodward states that the army captain's opinions of the players chimed in with his own, and led to certain players being dropped from the squad. He doesn't name names, but then, you could see why: as Woodward, he didn't want personally to aim at them. Surely, it was Burns' remit to work out who these were. For example, I've always suspected that Phil de Glanville was one of them, as he never played for England again despite scoring against the All Blacks, but I don't know that. I wanted Burns to have uncovered some evidence on this: after all, it was a seminal moment in selecting the core for the 2003 squad. He just doesn't bother, he just trots out Woodward's account of the exercise, without delving any deeper.
Where he does get new sources, e.g. interviewing Roger Uttley, who says Woodward was a bit of a nightmare on the 1998 tour of hell, he downplays it, as it not wanting to offend Uttley or Woodward. This was a good piece of information and firmer opinion was needed on what it says about both characters.
Occasionally, too, his writing strains to be somewhat poetic, and doesn't quite manage it e.g. the scene set of Henley RFC doing aerobics.
Finally, he needs editing: how many times do you need to be told that Jason Leonard's achievement of 100 caps was especially remarkable given that he played in the front row?
If all this sounds hypercritical, perhaps it is.
Burns has written an enjoyable account, amalgamating various sources, mainly player autobiographies, but especially Woodward's, and arranging them well so that the story coheres. He adds in a thesis about 'growth' mindset, which is hardly rocket-science.
In the introduction, he says he was very influenced by 'Moneyball', but he's no Michael Lewis.
If you want to know more about business and sport and incremental gains employed by Woodward, read his own book "Winning!"; if you want a general, slightly hagiographic, account of the greatest ever England rugby team, then this is probably it. But the definitive version is yet to be written.
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