The Beginner’s Guide to Rugby by Aaron Cruden, Random House NZ
This handsome sports book will be very popular on the New Zealand market. I can see public and school librarians (intermediate and secondary) rushing to buy it, and it will also be welcomed by parents of rugby-mad youngsters (fathers and grandfathers will enjoy it too!). First impressions of the book are that it is very comprehensive, but at the same time it makes the wealth of information readily accessible to young readers. It begins with chapters focusing on Aaron Cruden’s stellar career in rugby, beginning with his stint as captain of Palmerston North Boys’ High School First XV, and taking us right through to his continuing success in the present day. The following how-to chapters are written by Cruden himself, starting off with What is Rugby? and continuing through advice on rugby training and skills, to discussing other factors such as nutrition, leadership, and injury. The chapters on skills include sections headed up Checklist, When It Goes Bad, Activity, and The Cruden Clue. The book is well designed, with lots of headings and colour photos, and the layout encourages both dipping into and reading from beginning to end.
Comment from my rugby-mad husband: “There’s a massive amount of information in this book. Youngsters wanting to use it as a training manual will need to focus on one skill at a time, utilising Cruden’s advice, and only move on to the next skill once they’ve mastered the current one.”
There’s a Teachers’ Resource PDF available for download from the Random House website. My only slightly critical comment on the book: the cardboard binding will rapidly become tatty. Libraries will need to do their own strengthening of the cover.
ISBN 978 1 77553 790 8 $34.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman