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400 at 5:30 by Peter Bills

Release date: 01st September, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £12.08
You Save: £4.91 (28%)
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It would be almost impossible to explain why anyone who had read the compelling introduction to Peter Bills’ 400 at 5:30 With Nannies chose not to press on with a burgeoning sense of gleeful anticipation.

Bills, a renowned rugby reporter, provides the absolutely definitive summary of life as a freelance sports writer which anyone contemplating such a career should read.

The author has reported on every Rugby World Cup (RWC) and, as he emphasises in this excellent memoir, the life of a freelance is no cakewalk; his description of the aftermath of the 2003 final confirms this in spades.

Thankfully, 400 at 5:30 is no rehash of old reports, a rushed, cut-and-paste effort designed to coincide with the forthcoming RWC, but an engaging, invariably humorous read, thanks to the author’s decision to place fun at the heart of his career. A great book for any sports fan and a must for those harbouring ambitions to write as a freelance.

The Iron Curtain, by Phil Larder and Nick Bishop, tells the tale of how rugby league coach Larder recognised how effective the code’s one-line defence would be if transferred to union. So successful was this tactic that just about every senior rugby XV employs it nowadays.

Larder played league for Oldham and became RL’s first national coaching director in 1982. He coached the British RL side between 1995-97 prior to joining Clive Woodward’s union setup the same year; his tactical nous was pivotal in England’s 2003 RWC success.

Rugby World Cup Greatest Games by Rob Clark, offers a history of the tournament in 50 matches. This might strike you as a tad too many, considering the competition only began in 1987, though the author doesn’t try to persuade us that each of his selected contests are worthy of the ‘great’ moniker. Most of those featured here are, however, memorable.

Finally, Chris Hawkes’ England Rugby Miscellany is a handy collection of facts and stats, an ideal source of material for pub quiz enthusiasts, a book likely to be automatically added to the ‘lavatory sports books’ genre.


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