Book – Lawrence Dallaglio’s Rugby Tales
Compiler – Lawrence Dallaglio
Year – 2009
Genre – Biographical
Bought for me by Mark Holdaway
Contrary to what I believed when picking up this book, Rugby Tales is not in fact the autobiography of Lawrence Dallaglio, but is instead a compilation of anecdotal stories from various figures involved in world rugby. The aim of the book is to raise money for a rugby player’s benevolent fund, and is actually a brilliant idea. As I read the premise, I thought of the other fields in which this would be interesting – imagine a collection of stories from football players such as Beckham, Gascoigne and Shearer, a book of tales from the great tennis players such as MacEnroe, Laver and Agassi or a collection of hilarious anecdotes from world leaders such as Blair, Mandela and Thatcher.
As anyone with any knowledge of rugby will have probably guessed, most of the stories have less to do with sport and more to do with getting very, very drunk. To this end, the book is more accessible. I like rugby, but would by no means consider myself a particularly big fan – I could recognise a few of the World Cup winners, and I can appreciate a good match when it happens to be on, but not a lot more – but found many of the stories pretty amusing. However, to a rugby fan – and particularly one who was following the sport before it became professional in the mid-nineties (a fact I learnt from this book) – a new dimension would be added. Knowing who the stories are about would surely improve the book over being some funny things that happened to some people, to finding out more about people you have followed for years.
The writing style and quality varies throughout the book, but is pretty accessible throughout. This is definitely worth a look at if you are a rugby fan, but if not then do not be dissuaded by the title – I think that you would still take something from the book.
As a final note, I couldn’t help but pick up on a writing trait of Dallaglio’s. Each contributer’s story is preceded by a quick summary of the man by our author. Without exaggeration, I believe roughly three quarters of them to be described as a ‘top man’. This is hardly relevent at all, but it made me smile a little each time I noticed it.