2012 winner:


Alastair Hignell had three highly successful careers in sport: as an England rugby player, a county cricketer and a sports broadcaster. A much-loved figure in the sporting world, he retired after being diagnosed with MS. This book is his warm and inspirational story – from his early days through to his current struggle with a debilitating illness.






2012 shortlist:


The shocking and moving story of Matt Hampson, the rugby player who dislocated his neck and was paralysed in an England training session, and how he readjusted to everyday life after the accident.








Donncha O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s leading international rugby players and a stalwart of the Munster side. Joking Apart is a compelling read, an honest and revealing autobiography which shows how this apparent ‘joker in the pack’ has a very serious and intensely professional approach to the sport he loves.








Jonny is the unrelenting, brutally honest account of one of the most revered, successful and complex athletes ever to play rugby for England. Jonny Wilkinson’s career has crossed three decades and four World Cups. He has accumulated phenomenal achievements, world points records, an impressive list of broken body parts, and a drop goal that will be remembered for ever. But the peculiar calmness with which he played the game masked a very different reality. In JONNY, he reveals the extraordinary psychology that he had to tame in order to be able to dominate his sport. For most of his life, he was driven by a quest for perfection and an obsession to be the best player in the world; here he shows how these two facets of his competitive mind took such a hold of him that they sent him to the top of the world, then swept him up and dragged him down into a spiral of despair. Jonny’s career has spanned the far reaches: amazing highs and iconic moments, then a fight against injury that culminated in a battle with depression. Here he tells of the physical toll he knew his body was taking from rugby, even from his youth; he tells of how he never wanted to be a kicking fly-half but learned to adapt his natural game to play the style that Clive Woodward believed necessary to win a World Cup, and how he nearly walked out on Martin Johnson’s England team 13 years later.



For over 130 years, the Scottish Borders has been a hotbed of rugby talent, producing international class players out of all proportion with the area’s small population. Southern Comfort uncovers the long-standing rugby obsession there, the local rivalries and passionate comradeship which continues the tradition today.








The Treasures of Rugby Union is a celebration of one of the world’s oldest international team sports. It covers the development of the game from the moment William Webb Ellis is reputed to have picked up a ball and run with it during a football match at Rugby School in 1823 to the ultra professional game of today and all that happened in between. It is packed with never-before-published memorabilia such as The First Laws of Rugby booklet and 1904 British Lions tour programme.