There has been a load of rugby autobiographies of World Cup winners, and although they are mostly a good read, they tend to be a bit samey. This is a different kind of rugby book. Neil Clark hasn't won a World Cup - he survived a traumatic childhood after his parents split up and became something of a journeyman in the south-west, fell out with Bristol after they showed him the door while injured, and eventually made it into the Premiership with Exeter Chiefs. The first half, which describes Clark's career up to promotion to the Premiership, is fantastic. The second half is a match-by-match account of Exeter's first two seasons to the Premiership, although it still has some interesting insights. It shows a different side to rugby that we don't normally hear about - Clark is the kind of player who has to struggle and fight to earn a place in his team, and an international call-up is the thing of dreams. Overall, a riveting read.
A fantastic book and truthfully it's a must read for anyone who has the slightest interest in the modern game. It tells of the huge efforts needed by any player who wants to reach the top of the profession. It charts not only the unique ups and downs of a players life and career so far, it also tells the story of how the Chiefs have latterly risen to the top tier of the game and how the players and coaches have overcome all the doubters outside of the Exeter in their own unique way. A great Christmas present for any Chiefs fan or indeed any rugby follower, would strongly urge all sports fans to buy it, give it to a friend or put it on their own present list.