The first book to tell the story of how the Great War inspired the greatest rugby tournament in the world
As Britain’s Empire went to war in August 1914, rugby players were the first to volunteer. They led from the front and paid a disproportionate price. In 1919, a grateful Mother Country hosted a rugby tournament: sevens teams at eight venues, playing 17 matches to declare a first "world champion." There had never been an international team tournament like it. For the first time teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Britain, and France were assembled in one place. Rugby held the first ever "World Cup." It was a moment of triumph, a celebration of military victory, of Commonwealth and Allied unity, and of rugby values, moral and physical. In 2015 the tournament returns to England as the world remembers the Centenary of the Great War. Values of teamwork, respect, and discipline were forged and tested in war—and enjoyment of rugby helped men through it. This is the story of rugby’s journey through World War I to its first World Cup, and how those values endure today.
About the Author
Stephen Cooper has played and coached rugby for more than 40 years. He worked in advertising and now runs a major military charity. His first book The Final Whistle won Rugby Book of the Year 2013 and was shortlisted for The Times Sports Book of the Year. His grandfather survived the Battle of the Somme and inspired in him a lifelong fascination with World War I.