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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2009
John Daniell's book is by far the best 'inside story' about rugby that I have read to date. His journalistic skills make the writing interesting and easy to follow and his narrative clearly tells of the highs and lows of playing one of the most physical games. This is a fascinating read for rugby and non-rugby readers; although on balance I would suggest more suited to rugby followers.

This is an updated publication of the book, and whilst it is a couple of years old his comments still have great relevance to the game; especially when we now see so many UK players about to go to France to play rugby next season.
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on 6 June 2009
I came to this book after reading one or two of the reviews on Amazon. It's a 'five star read' as far as I am concerned, and I think that all who follow rugby in whatever capacity will find it both entertaining and informative.
The fact that John Daniell is writing mostly in the capacity of someone who plied his trade as a professional rugby player in France should put no-one off. In fact should you be an avid supporter of any of the UK rugby teams, the fact that his points of reference are within the French set-up allows interesting comparison with the game in England in particular. It is enjoyable to compare the teams he has played for in France, particularly, Perpignan and Montpellier and play the game of spotting their equivalent in English rugby: could Montpellier be a bit like Bristol, without the scenery to match perhaps?
Anyway so far as this 'Glos' supporter is concerned, I finished the book in just a few sittings , and that's a rare event for me. So: in summary: Buy it, Read it and 'enjoy'!
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on 23 July 2012
This is an interesting snippet of the life of a professional rugby player - not one of the headline makers, but one of the new breed of journeymen players who have enough skill and talent to play top-flight rugby at whichever club is willing to pay them for it. John Daniell was a New Zealander who found himself playing in France for a succession of clubs. This book tells the tale of his last season of professional rugby at Montpellier. The narrative is based around the match reports of the season. These are probably the least interesting part of the book and could have been pulled from any newspaper. What is better is Daniell's own ruminations on the key issues of the day - the violence of professional rugby, especially in France, the job security and salary discussions that professional players must take part in, the importance of European competition, the threat of young players coming through, the decisions that have to be taken when a career is coming to an end.
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on 31 May 2009
A brilliant book, really takes you inside the mindset of French rugby, a great insight into a professional players thoughts, a real page turner

well worth a read !
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on 21 February 2015
I was given a second hand copy of this book and read it in about 3 days.
I found it more enjoyable than Gareth Thomas' recent autobiography, and it is a much easier read with more focus on the rugby.
It covers so many aspects of rugby and has some real funny parts. I thoroughly enjoyed it with insights into the mentality of players, coaches, sponsors etc. What makes it more frank is that it is not written by one of the top level names in the game, he has no sponsors or club to mind or to please and so is free to tell it the way he sees thing.s I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in rugby.
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on 29 May 2009
Great book. If to short. What an honest account of playing in France is like. Money dominates. However Daniell`s accounts seems honest. A great read for any sports fan.
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on 29 January 2016
Excellent book that gives a unique insight into the mindset of both French rugby and the modern professional. Daniell is an honest and eloquent writer, and you find empathy with even his darker confessions (eye-gouging). All in all, thoroughly recommended.
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on 30 May 2011
I was bought this book for my birthday and I really enjoyed it. Whilst there were insights into the world of professional rugby players, to an extent I had expected these. I had not expected the book to be so much about French club rugby and this aspect I really enjoyed. The club names were familiar to me (eg Stade, Toulouse, Brive, etc) but I knew little of the clubs or their character and history. The layout of the book follows John Daniell's final season at Montpellier and deals with aspects of club rugby and the various games in a structured chapter by chapter way. I felt I learnt a lot in an accessible and entertaining way.
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on 3 May 2009
For the hard core rugby fan who follows the french scene this book is awesome.
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on 30 October 2009
This is not bad at all. But I would hesitate to give it 4 stars. There seems to be little organisation. John's life lurches from game to game, with very little detail about the guys he is playing with. I know you have dodgy knees, but give me something else.

There are fascinating little snippets. He spent a year at Eton, he studied at Oxford and he's now in France. But for me, these are overshadowed by what seems a pile of match reports. I don't care if your flyhalf Coco missed the penalty, I want to know how you feel John. Some introspection please.

Again, there are amazing momments, when he talks about eye gouging and how brutally tough his life is. But I just felt this book, which I really looked forward to, could do with some organisation and better editing, as John seems a great talent.
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