Author(s): Ross Reyburn
The increased popularity of rugby union as a spectator sport in the 25 years since it turned professional has thrown a smokescreen over the crisis it faces. A highly physical game has been turned into a dangerous sport by misguidedly trying to match the flow of its great rival, rugby league, and there is a worrying drop in male playing numbers in major nations. Commercialism has been allowed to dominate the game, the English Premiership has severely undermined one of rugby's greatest success stories - Lions tours to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia - and the major northern hemisphere rugby countries exert financial power over rugby unions south of the equator. The book recounts the history of rugby union's early decades as a professional sport and praises the best features of the modern game, especially the expansion of women's rugby. It also provides a template for solving the sport's injury crisis.