Leonard’s story starts as rugby started – in the amateur days, when the Cockney Carpenter began playing for Barking and Saracens in the days before multi-million pound business owners and sponsorship deals. His big break came when he was invited to join the England squad for their tour to Argentina in 1990 and has been capped 100 times.
It was a tour that precipitated one of the greatest periods in the history of the British game, and Leonard provides a compelling insight into life behind the international scenes with England and the Lions, as well as the domestic game through his time at Saracens and Harlequins.
Once told that he would never walk again after undergoing life-saving surgery on his neck, Leonard describes the torment he went through during this period – both physical and financial – and how he fought against all the odds to re-establish himself on the international stage. With 100 Test caps won to date, and a career in rugby union spanning two decades, there is no more experienced player in the modern game.
Leonard has plenty to tell about the people he has met during his career – Rob Andrew, Will Carling, Lawrence Dallaglio, Brian Moore, Dick Best and Clive Woodward all feature – and with nicknames like 'The Fun Bus' and 'The Scourge of the Barking Barmaids' the stories are as colourful and controversial as the man himself.
All is revealed in this fascinating portrait of an English rugby legend who also reflects upon England's 2002 Six Nations campaign, his hopes for his international future and a tough year for Quins.
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'There are plenty of funnies, oodles of escapades as well as Leonard's own obsession with fitness. Kervin has done well to draw him out.' Independent
'The excellent tome he has produced with Alison Kervin does give us a much-needed reminder about the nature of sport.' Sunday Telegraph
'There are some lovely anecdotes …' Rugby World
‘There is not a rugby supporter in the land who does not love ‘our Jase’ – the embodiment of the game, the prop who has never lost the common touch’ Daily TelegraphFrom the Back Cover:
In a career spanning two decades, England and Harlequins prop forward Jason Leonard has seen the rugby world turned upside down during its transition from amateur to professional sport. The most capped player in the history of English rugby, with more than 90 Test caps to his name, Leonard has come across some of the hardest men in the game, and survived and thrived to tell the tale.
His life story is the ultimate rags-to-riches tale of a brilliant young player who fights through career-threatening injury to make it to the very top of the international game in the early nineties. Even then there were those who were ready to write him off as the sport turned professional, when pints became supplanted by practice, sponsorship money engulfed the clubs, and fitness and diet became the new buzzwords.
But the Cockney carpenter proved his detractors wrong, featuring in three Worlds Cups and finding a new lease of life in a dynamic and all-conquering England team before winning a place on a third Lions tour to Australia in the summer of 2001.
In his book he looks back on his amateur days at Barking and Saracens, before a move to high-flying Harlequins. Life at The Stoop was never dull, and Leonard gives an insight into the club behind the scenes with players such as Will Carling and Brian Moore. Later for England, he lifts the lid on legends such as Peter Winterbottom and Wade Dooley, and in more recent times the like so Lawrence Dallaglio and Clive Woodward.
Jason Leonard has broken his silence with a book that is sure to enthral rugby followers keen to read how one man overcame all the odds to reach the pinnacle of his sport.
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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007346257 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0980102
Book Description HarperCollinsWillow, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 368 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007346255