There has never been a rugby player quite like Paul O'Connell. He is synonymous with passion, heart and determination; but he is also the thinking man's rugby player, a legendary student of the game.
As the heartbeat of Munster, British and Irish Lions captain in 2009, and captain of the first Ireland team to defend a Six Nations championship, O'Connell has emerged as perhaps the most beloved of the golden generation of Irish rugby players. In an autobiography as intense as its author, he tells the story of his remarkable career.
'The years of O'Connell and O'Driscoll were as close to a golden age as ever Ireland will get and O'Connell's book tells you how it all happened ... It should be mandatory for every Irish squad member to read O'Connell's book to better understand what it takes to make a team' David Walsh, Sunday Times
'O'Connell has emptied the tank here. ... What has come out ... is a psychological profile that is almost shocking at times in what it reveals about the bloody single-mindedness of the competitive gene' Hilary A. White, Irish Independent
'The intense physicality of his rugby upbringing is an abiding theme ... along with humour, the craic and an extensive knowledge of how teams work' Paul Hayward, Daily Telegraph
'I found The Battle entrancing' Stephen Jones, Sunday Times
'Excellent ... [an] eye-opening account of the never-ending battles he fought' Rugby World
'Revelatory ... Unflinchingly charts his personal evolution ... He is not at all easy on himself' Keith Duggan, Irish Times
After being released from prison and winning South Africa’s first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks—long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule—to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela’s miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.
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