The Battle (Review)

Paul O’ Connell is one of the most interesting characters in world rugby, a legendary Irish player that has really done it all.  His accomplishments are quite numerous, including 115 international caps, two Heineken Cups, three Lions tours, and three Six Nations championships.  While at Munster, he also claimed the Celtic League championship three times and the Celtic Cup once.  With Ireland, he also won the Grand Slam once and the Triple Crown four times.

Cover Art Courtesy of Penguin Random House UK

Simply put, O’Connell is an impressive player, arguably one of the best to ever play the game.

Finding a worthy platform for someone like O’Connell is not easy, but it is very clear that The Battle does the trick and then some.  O’Connell shares his journey in rugby in a comprehensive manner, giving readers behind the scenes access to his biggest moments before, during, and after rugby.  You’ll hear about how he got his start in sport (it wasn’t rugby) and how he found his way, working through the ranks to become one of the all-time greats in Irish rugby.

O’Connell doesn’t shy away from any conversation; the book becomes a platform for sharing the highs (hardware and honors) and lows (injuries) of his decorated career.  It’s a lovely read from start to finish, covering many years of his life.  It’s not a brief overview.  Rather it’s a meaty 432 pages of incredible content, including brilliant photographs from all periods of his life.

It’s no surprise to us that it won the Cross Sports Book Awards Rugby Book of the Year.  It’s that good.  We’ll even take it a step further, saying it is one of the top rugby titles we have ever read and easily one of the best sports titles of the year.

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