Raising The Dragon: A Clarion Call To Welsh Rugby

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Random House, Jul 31, 2011 - Sports & Recreation - 250 pages
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Rugby has held a central role in Welsh life over the past century. In the words of historian Gareth Williams, the game has been 'a pre-eminent expressionof Welsh consciousness, a signifier of Welsh nationhood'. Less than 25 years ago touring teams from the southern hemisphere knew that their hardest games would be in Wales; the Welsh national team was consistently the strongest in Britain. Thats all changed. Wales is now one of the game's also-rans. With only one Home Championship in the past 20 years and little success in the World Cup, Welsh rugby - despite some consolidation under Graham Henry - is badly in need of fresh thinking and ideas. Who better to provide them than the man who was widely regarded as one of the best scrum halves of his era, yet whose playing career coincided with that period of Welsh decline? In this thought-provoking and frequently controversial book, Welsh rugby icon Robert Jones provides a sharply realistic assassment of the Welsh game from the roots to the national stadium, drawing heavily on lessons learned and observations made during his own illustrious career. Raising the Dragon is a persona manifesto for change from a player whose commitment to Wales never wavered.

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1 Trebanos Dreams
2 Raising the Dragon
3 Starting Out
4 Breaking In
5 Amateur Days
6 Turning Pro
7 When the Going Was Good
8 Losing Our Way
The Trebanos boys As well as playing rugby for Wales Arwel Thomas left Bleddyn Bowen centre and myself all played cricket for Pontardawe CC
Starting out Getting a pass away against Newport in my first season as Richie Collins closes in
Winners at last Lifting the SWALEC Cup after Swanseas win in 1995
Meeting Princess Diana Mike Rayner centre and Neil Jenkins right look suitably impressed
Not the Kelly gang It wasnt all misery in Australia in 1991 With me are from left to right Richard Webster Scott Gibbs and Anthony Clement
Under pressure Left isolated for once for the Lions against Australia in 1989
Floating voter While we were in New Zealand and Australia for the 1987 World Cup it was election time back home
Three points to Pontypridd Neil Jenkins a great player not always appreciated or used properly John Harris

9 King Henry?
10 The Lions and the Southern Nations
11 Allied Trades
12 Theres More to Life than Rugby
Family ties At home in Trebanos with from left to right my father and mother Tiaan Emily Margaret and Clive and Meg
He aint heavy hes my brother In club colours with Ant left South Wales Police and Rhod centre Neath
Mascot duty Emily is carried off the pitch at St Helens by her proud uncle Rhod
They dont make hairstyles like that any more With from left to right Jonathan Davies Bleddyn Bowen and John Devereux at the 1987 World Cup
Through the gap On the break against England as Rob Andrew left tries to cover John Harris
Quick service Although Aled Williams right evidently wonders where it is going John Harris

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About the author (2011)

Robert Jones is one of the major figures of modern international rugby and is recognised as one of the great scrum-halves of his era. All but one of his 54 caps for Wales came in that influential position - a national record he shares with the legendary Gareth Edwards. Jones is now BBC Radio 5 Live's Welsh rugby correspondent and he also contributes regular columns to the Sun.

Huw Richards, who assisted Robert Jones in the writing of this book, is the rugby correspondent of the Financial Times and has co-edited Heart and Soul and More Heart and Soul, two critically acclaimed collections of essays on Welsh rugby heroes.

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