Planet Rugby

Book review: Blue Blood

07th April 2011 18:10

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Bernard Jackman

Bernard Jackman: Leinster through and through

Ahead this weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-finals we review former Leinster hooker Bernard Jackman's eye-opening autobiography, "Blue Blood."

As it's subtitle suggests, Blue Blood: The Inside story of Leinster in the Cheika years and has an original format in that it alternates between telling the story of Jackman's thirteen-year long career and extracts from his diary during Leinster's victorious 2008/2009 Heinken Cup campaign and their unsuccessful title defence the following season.

Blue Blood is no literary masterpiece, but it certainly reminds the reader that top rugby players and coaches are still human beings whose lives extend beyond the 80 minutes we witness on a Saturday afternoon.

Books about how trophies were won are dime a dozen but what makes Blue Blood interesting is its insight into how painful defeat can be as Jackman offers an insider's perspective on the personal and professional pressures that pile up when things aren't going right.

'Painful' is the appropriate word as the author is brutally honest is his description of his mind-boggling string of concussions and knee injuries but also his ultimate fall-out with Leinster Head Coach Michael Cheika.

The Irish international's relationship with his boss is central to the saga and reading this book gives you plenty of food for thought when it comes to unseen dynamics in team selection and the personal and team politics that go with it.

Jackman lives and breathes for Leinster rugby and through the highs and lows of two seasons, there is also a mention for their great rivals - Munster. Victory is always sweater if Munster happen to lose on the same weekend and vice versa.

There are plenty of anecdotes and stories about players past and present. From local heroes Brian O'Drsicoll and Jonny Sexton to ''imports' like Ollie le Roux and Isa Nacewa, Blue Blood offers fans of Irish rugby a glimpse behind the scenes of the Magners League and the Irish national team.

You're a fast reader, you could finish Blue Blood off in a weekend but you could just as easily read a chapter per week and enjoy it in parallel to a European campaign.

Blue Blood
Published by: Irish Sports Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9563598-2-7

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