Chapter 1: From obscure origins to international showpiece
This chapter assesses the various myths and folklore that surround the origins of the game, which stretch back as far as ancient Greece, and it also sets the record straight on some misconceptions around the event involving William Webb Ellis at Rugby School in England – which is widely viewed as the moment that influenced the birth of the modern game. From that time, rugby also became the forefather to other football codes such as Rugby League and even the creation of American Football.
Chapter 2: Birth of a sporting powerhouse (Free audio sample below)
Not everyone wanted a Rugby World Cup, and what had remained a strictly amateur game for a proud white collar population was thought to be under threat of being pulled towards professionalism if it allowed such a tournament to be born. Those fears would eventually prove correct, and the modern game was forced to become professional in 1995, but not before many fierce boardroom battles that played out across various unions around the world prior to the first tournament taking place in 1987.
Chapter 3: Rugby World Cup 1987 – The Tournament
The shape of chapters covering off “The Tournament” is an overview of the major highlights from each Pool of qualifying games, then separate summaries for the Quarter-finals, Semi-finals and Final across each tournament. The Tournament narrative is then followed by the “Five Magic Memories” chapter, which captured those iconic events from each tournament, e.g. the revelation of Jonah Lomu in 1995, Japan’s historic upset over South Africa in 2015, etc.
Chapter 4: Rugby World Cup 1987 – Five Magic Memories
The “Five Magic Memories” from each tournament consist of 5 x 500 words that dive into more detail from “The Tournament” narrative preceding that chapter. The group of “Five Magic Memories” from the inaugural tournament consists of moments such as John Kirwan’s length of the field try in the opening match v Italy and how it helped unite a divided host nation after the 1986 Cavaliers controversy, through to the memorable Australia v France semi-final, and the All Blacks eventual triumph in the final.
Chapter 5: The Interim Years – 1987-1991
This summary of the years between each tournament captures all the vital events and rule changes in the game, which would ultimately influence the development and spread of rugby around the world. From assessing the transition period and threats to the existence of the game as it turned professional, such as the failed takeover bid of World Rugby Corporation in 1996, these chapters also look at key events specific to countries, e.g. military coups in Fiji, Australia’s infamous Super League war, etc.
Chapters 6-28: These chapters alternate between “The Tournament”, “Five Magic Memories” and “The Interim Years” from 1995 through to 2019. Each tournament effectively has two new chapters created for it and “The Interim Years” sit between those tournament-related chapters. The final two chapters of the book are statistics-related and are not conducive to be reproduced within the latest audio book edition, however the pages will be made available as PDFs to download on this website very soon.