Rugby Revealed Guide to Finding Your Rugby Position

9781472916181Rugby is the ‘game for everyone’, whatever your size or skillset there is a place for you in the team. The authors of Rugby Revealed, Gavin Hickie and Eilidh Donaldson, spoke to over 100 top players and coaches when writing the guide to the game. They found that while there were skillsets for each position, most players did not start in the position they are known for playing.

Here is the Rugby Revealed quick guide to finding your position and some of the top stars’ stories.

Physically strong and mentally tough? You are a Prop

Props live to scrummage but it is not something which comes naturally as Italy’s Martin Castrogiovanni found. “In my first game of rugby, I played in the second row and my scrummaging was terrible! My coach told me I had the physical attributes of a prop of the future.”

Enjoy variety and technical challenges? You are a Hooker

Being composed, confident and mentally tough helps a hooker throw at the lineout. It’s a skill that helped France’s Benjamin Kayser find his position. “I played No 8 and loosehead. One day the hooker got injured and I’d played a lot of basketball so the boys said Ben can throw and it went well.” 

Like contesting the ball in the air and ready to ruck? You are a Lock

Mobile and versatile, a lock’s height an advantage at the lineout and they don’t come much taller than Ireland’s Devin Toner. “I started at number 8 but then I hit 6’4 and didn’t stop until 6’10! So naturally I was put into the second row.”

Love hardwork and being at the heart of the action? You are a Back Row

Wales’ Sam Warburton’s jersey is definitely made of ‘captain material’ but it’s also featured the No 7 since his early days. “I’ve played open side since being selected to play there for Cardiff schools under 11’s and loved the position ever since.”

Can you handle pressure and love directing the play? You are a Scrum Half

The 9 and 10 on the team have to have a good understanding of each other’s roles. No surprise then that players like Ben Youngs switch between the two positions. “I was a 10 until I was 16 then the coach felt I would be a better scrum half.”

Strategic thinker who thrives making decisions under pressure? You are a Fly Half

England’s George Ford is a rugby league convert who has been able to successfully transfer his skills because of his experience in a similar position. “I started playing rugby league and there’s quite a lot of skills and attributes that crossover with standoff and fly half.”

Powerful, pacey, and possess an analytical mind? You are a Centre

Jamie Roberts had to think quickly when he was first chosen to play at centre for Wales. “I did not play centre until my third cap for Wales. The coach asked me, “How much rugby have you played at 12?” The last time was at U15s but I told him, “Yeah, I’ve played a bit of 12 in my time”.

Quick feet and love to score? You are a Winger

The fleet of foot George North made his mark on the wing but had he not been injured the Welsh back row might have benefited. “I was playing 7 in college, picked up a collarbone injury. I came back faster than before, moved onto the wing and I haven’t looked back!”

Versatile, fearless, and able to read the game? You are a Full Back

Ireland’s Rob Kearney definitely played to his strengths when he chose full back over wing. “I always felt my skillset was a better fit at full back on the global stage because there are so many monster, powerful guys on the wing with an enormous amount of pace.”

Rugby Revealed: Reaching Your Rugby Potential
is available to buy from

Stay Resolute!

New Year New You 2016

So you’ve set a resolution to be healthier this year! Good for you! Now comes the hard part, but with a little help, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

We’re halfway through January–keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions on track with our roundup of motivational posts, articles, and videos. Check out the links below and let Bloomsbury’s expert fitness authors keep you on track!

Paul Mumford, creator of The Accumulator™ program, offers up some tips on keeping up with your goals of getting fit and staying healthy. You can also head over to his blog for some more info on his 30-day fitness plan to mix up your workouts and get your body in gear this January.

If you’re interested in using yoga to slim down and tone up this year, Nicola Jane Hobbs has a free workout online from her new Yoga Gym program. Follow her on Instagram for

Resolving to eat better in 2016? Dr. Sarah Schenker, co-author of this winter’s The Ageless Body, is a nutritionist with great ideas and tips for eating well. Check out her blog for great healthy recipes like a do-it-yourself breakfast cereal that will give you workout a boost or a decadent but lean steak salad. As you start a healthy eating and exercise plan, check in with Dr. Schenker and her co-author Peta Bee on Twitter for a little extra motivation.

Dive into the blog of nutritionist and former bodybuilding champion Anita Bean for more tips on the proper nutrition for an active lifestyle. Anita answers your diet questions like “Do low fat diets really work?” and “Will eating Paleo boost my athletic performance?

Don’t miss more tips on sticking to your fitness resolutions with this video from Peak Physique author Hollis Lance Liebman.

And if you need more inspiration, US readers can get 40% off selected sport and fitness books through the end of January.

Keeping your New Year’s Resolutions on track! Author Paul Mumford shares his top tips…

What happened to you at the start of 2015? Did you aim get fit, lose weight and improve your health? How is that going? Are you stepping into 2016 with the same resolutions you started with last year?


Weight, health and fitness are on the top of many people’s New Year’s list but how many actually succeed? Not many, in fact studies show that only 8% achieve any of the goals they set for themselves on New Year’s Day. Many will even decide before Christmas they want to lose weight and tone up once it’s all over but many will never even start. The intention is there, they complain about how much they’re eating (often while eating it) and come January 1st it’s a distant memory. So how do you become one of the minority? If you’re already starting to feel like you can’t be bothered or looking for reasons to say ‘I’m too busy’, here are 5 things you can do so you don’t make the same resolutions next year.

Pick one thing you would like to achieve and work to achieve it. It’s no good saying you’re going to the gym to ‘get fit’ because how do you know when you’ve done it? You need something to strive for that you can actually measure but isn’t unrealistic. Start with a goal that may only take you a few weeks to achieve. Then, when you’ve got there you’ll feel great about yourself and be ready to set another. By looking at a big picture (like dropping a dress size or more) it seems so far away that you’re more likely to lose enthusiasm and give up. The Accumulator™ book contains a workout and healthy eating plan that takes only 30 days to work through. Then once you’re done there are lots of other options to keep you on track.

The human brain is built to crave variety. But why do I see so many people doing the same exercises week after week in the gym? Don’t these people get bored? Well, yes they probably do; and they’re probably not seeing results either. These are 2 more things that can lead to failure. To keep you and your brain interested and to promote your body to change you need variety. The Accumulator™ is different each day but not so different that you find it impossible to do. By adding only one new exercise to the workout each day and one change to your diet you are gradually challenged to try new things and become better at the ones you’ve been doing for longer so you see an improvement each day.

Exercising with a friend is a great way to keep you motivated. Having help and support can make a real difference and establish accountability. You will have someone to answer to if you fall off the wagon. The Accumulator™ is built around support. By remaining in contact with everyone else taking part (via our Facebook group) you have a team right there with you every single day.

When you were a baby did you get up and run on day 1? No it took many months for your body to develop so you could first crawl then stand before you could even walk. If you’re new or returning to exercise it’s unreasonable to expect to run straight away and many people try to start a diet and exercise plan at 100% by choosing the hardest workouts and making many changes at once. This is a bit like trying to juggle with lots of balls. When you drop one ball (and you will) you’re more likely to give up completely. The Accumulator™ is a 30 day plan that builds with one new exercise and one change to your diet each day so you learn to juggle one ball at a time.

No time like the present right? Why not take the plunge by trying day one of The Accumulator™ fitness plan right now (check out the video below) or read out about the whole 30 day plan in the book.


Come On, Ref!!

Ever watched a game of football and thought the ref got it wrong? Think you could do a better job? If you fancy yourself as the new Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver or Phil Dowd, perhaps you should get your hands on the bestselling referee manual, The Soccer Referee’s Manual. Now in its sixth edition, it contains FIFA’s most recent Laws of the Game, and has over 100 questions and answers on the laws and interpretations, and contains invaluable insights in to the FA’s referee training and advice.

So what are you still doing sitting on your sofa? Get yourself a copy and get out there on the pitch…

And don’t forget your whistle!


Reproduction of ‘FIFA – Laws of the Game 2015/2016’ – The official Laws of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). Source:
© Copyright 1994-2015 FIFA. All rights reserved.

The Rugby World Cup – a history in photos. Out now!

Unless you’ve been stuck in a blizzard in Siberia, you’ll know that one of the world’s greatest sports events is happening right now!

The Rugby World Cup 2015 has already been pronounced as the greatest edition of the tournament, breaking records in ticket sales, TV audiences, commercial revenue and social media interaction. (I even got to be part of the record-breaking 89,267-strong crowd at Sunday’s Ireland-Romania clash – woo!) And RWC 2015 has also featured a plethora of the world’s most magnificent beards – even Prince Harry was sporting one at the opening ceremony!


Winners South Africa celebrating, 2007

But what do you know about the history of this great test of human strength, aggression, speed and endurance? Starting with the inaugural competition in 1987 – in which New Zealand confirmed their status as the world’s top rugby nation – to the historical 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa after the end of apartheid and the international sports boycott through England’s fantastic win in 2003 breaking the southern hemisphere’s dominance, up to this year’s qualifiers, The Rugby World Cup is a unique photographic journey through each tournament. So why not get your hands on a copy.

9781472912626 (1)

It isn’t just the All Blacks who do the haka. Come on Tonga!

9781472912626 (2)

Jonny kicking with precision.

9781472912626 (3) The Rugby World Cup: The Definitive Photographic History by Brendan Gallagher.   Get 30% this book and all our other rugby titles on our website.

Rugby World Cup kicks off tomorrow! #theworldisoval

Great to see rugby fever at Stanfords in London. IMG_7097 (2)

The Job: Commissioning Editor, Sports and Fitness

The Opportunity
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc are looking for an experienced Commissioning Editor to work on our fantastic Sports and Fitness list. Working with the Head of Department you will commission sports and fitness titles across the market, including gift titles, narratives, reference books, coffee table titles and training manuals. 

Bloomsbury Sport publishes the best in sport, health and fitness books, covering a wide range of subjects, from the history of cycling through to the practicalities of foam rolling. This is a challenging and exciting role for someone able to manage their own projects with plenty of drive and enthusiasm.

The Role
• Commission new products and manage backlist to ensure your list meets identified market needs
• Maintain solid market awareness in order to identify publishing opportunities
• Monitor market trends and competitor activity; undertake market research
• Develop and maintain a network of external contacts; attend conferences/events as required
• Draw up and negotiate contracts with authors / agents
• Manage initial budget and schedule for commissioned projects

Skills, knowledge, experience
• Must have experience in trade book publishing
• Track record of commissioning books, ideally developing a list
• Excellent knowledge of the editorial and commissioning process
• Relevant market knowledge advantageous / interest in the sports and fitness sector
• Good awareness / experience of ebooks/digital opportunities

This role is based at Bloomsbury’s London office, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP. To apply, please send a CV, covering letter, including current salary details and notice period, to Julia Thomson, HR Advisor.

The closing date for this role is Monday, 28th September 2015.

Rugby Books Sale Now On!


30% off all rugby books! Visit our website to see what’s on offer.

Basketball Coaching: Out Now

Basketball is one of the most spectacular, dynamic and popular team sports on the planet, requiring a high level of fitness and skill. And success in basketball comes from a player’s ability to consistently execute the fundamental skills of the game and also from the coach’s ability to coach and incorporate these skills into their training programmes.

Baske9781472901880tball Coaching by Alexandru Radu is therefore a vital resource for current and aspiring coaches, covering the essential skills needed to successfully coach and develop players.

The book starts from the basics, providing guidance on skills and techniques training, tactical training and physical and psychological preparation for each individual position. It also covers elite level coaching skills, such as performance analysis and talent identification, which can be used at all levels of the game.

Illustrated throughout with diagrams to explain all drills and amazing photographs of basketball in action, it’s  the ideal tool for coaches wanting to develop a better understanding of this dynamic sport and how to coach it effectively.

To get your hands on a copy, click here.

The Other Giant Leap for Mankind

How Jonathan Edwards set a world record that’s still standing 20 years later

Ben Oakley
The Open University

In the late evening Scandinavian sun at the 1995 World Athletics Championship, Jonathan Edwards, a British triple jumper, was the tenth to jump out of of 12 finalists. He took a minute to collect himself, then sped down the runway to jump 18.16m, breaking his own world record by 18 centimetres.

Edwards wandered around in a contented daze, waiting for the distance to be displayed when he heard the crowd roar as they saw the scoreboard before he did. The jump was valid. Then, 25 minutes later Edwards went again; he looked incredibly relaxed before he sprinted for his second celebratory jump, whose rhythm and smoothness produced a further distance of 18.29m. The stadium exploded in a tumult of shared joy of witnessing something very special.

And very special it was – that record has stood for 20 years now. In a world where athletes constantly shave millimetres, seconds and nano-seconds off previous bests, that jump in 1995 is assuming the status of a mythical feat. The closest anyone else has got is 20cm away – Kenny Harrison (USA) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. More recently, Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo’s steady annual improvements have seen him come within 21cm.

How did Edwards do it? He described it as a magic combination of timing and speed, power and touch. And studying his 2001 authorised biography, A Time to Jump, and his subsequent public comments can give us more insight.

Early years

A key ingredient in Edwards’s success was a genetic blueprint that meant he had raw speed on the track (according to his biography, his best 100m time is 10.48 sec). Speed as you approach take-off in triple and long jump is one of the key pre-requisites of success, since it translates into horizontal distance when jumping. But genetic potential is the relatively easy part; the rest is a blend of multiple factors.

Growing up in Ilfracoumbe, a modest town in Devon, South West England, helped. Where you grow up influences the likelihood of sporting success with small towns enabling a more supportive developmental climate. It’s often better to be a big fish in a small pond. West Buckland private school also allowed Edwards to thrive in a diverse range of sports including rugby, basketball, tennis, athletics, cricket and gym.

Participating in a rich mix of different sports in childhood is the optimal preparation for future success in most sports. Learning to move in varied ways is the best foundation, rather than specialising in one sport from an early age which might be called “extreme nurture”. Edwards eventually concentrated on jumping at the age of 21.

At school, his diminutive stature earned the nickname of “Titch” and a birthdate in May magnified his late physical development in comparison with others in his school year. A concerned PE teacher was frightened to select him for inter-school rugby fearing for his safety. Children born in May, June, July and August, the youngest in their school year, are less likely to get selected for squads in adolescence, but are more likely to achieve senior professional status: a reversal of the relative age effect. The additional challenge experienced by these initially disadvantaged younger athletes is thought to build resilience – a key component for success.

18 metre man.
John Giles/PA

Faith and training

To succeed, champions need to learn their craft. After graduating in Physics from Durham University, the 1988 Olympics was his first major event at the start of his elite development. Fortunately his body responded well to training and he mostly stayed injury-free, both of which are starting to be recognised as having genetic components.

An international athlete’s craft involves refining diet, responding to coaching analysis, conditioning in the gym and making wise travel arrangements. While in the arena, optimising the warm-up, saving energy for competition and coping with pressure all need to be incrementally developed through experience.

After six years of full-time training, aged 27, following disappointment at both the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, Edwards made the World Championships podium (bronze) having leapt 17.44 metres. Jumping a whole metre further seemed impossible at that time.

Athletes need to be fascinated with this process of improving. The paradox is that they need to be able to make sense of this seemingly selfish pursuit; a need to be content with the purpose of their lives. At times Edwards battled with realising his talent and fulfilling his strong Christian obligations which until 1993 meant he would not compete on Sundays. His evangelical faith helped make sense of optimising his jumping talent: it was in service to God. Many years later, in retirement and after losing his faith, he said that looking back “faith gave me more perspective on success or failure, it was my sport psychology in a way”.

A further ingredient of success is rest and recovery. Edwards was forced to recuperate after contracting Epsterin Barr virus in 1994; it meant he was revived as he eased his way back into training. It also gave him time to think deeply about his jumping technique including a new two-arm swing skywards.

The big jump

The final ingredient in the mix is supreme confidence. Edwards’s 1995 season started well. A national record in his first contest, he was on his way. Then in June he achieved the longest leap of all time, 18.43m in Lille. Unfortunately the jump was only a hair’s breath, 0.4m/sec, over the legal wind threshold. But he had re-defined the parameters of the sport.

He first broke the world record properly weeks later in Salamanca with 17.98m. Then came Gothenberg and his place in history. Watching the footage of his second, record-breaking jump, you can see that on the runway he is relishing the moment having just broken the world record again minutes previously. He knows he might do it again and is supremely confident and relaxed.

Later, he admitted that if he could combine the physicality of Gothenberg with the technical perfection of Lille he believed 18.60m was possible. He never achieved such a distance, but five years later he won gold in the 2000 Olympics, aged 34.

Jonathan Edwards’ path from a cherubic vicarage schoolboy to the 20th anniversary of his enduring triple jump world record reveals rich insights about the complex jigsaw of podium success.

Often discussions of elite athletics all too easily fall into a facile nature-nurture debate. Probing athlete’s biographies alongside research can reveal fascinating and varied routes to the top. And there are few higher (or further) athletic achievements than that great leap in 1995.

Ben Oakley is Head of Childhood, Youth and Sport at The Open University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


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