The 5 Best Rugby Books for Enthusiasts and Players

Whether you’re a player looking to improve your skills or an enthusiast looking to delve deeper into the culture and history of rugby, there are countless books out there to help you learn and grow. But with so many options, it can be tough to know where to start. To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of the best rugby books for enthusiasts and players alike.

The 5 Best Rugby Books for Enthusiasts and Players

Rugby literature is a fascinating and diverse genre that has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the sport or just starting to learn about it, there are countless books out there that can help you deepen your understanding and appreciation of rugby.

For those new to the game, instructional guides are a great place to start. These books often cover the basics of the game, from the rules and regulations to the different positions and strategies. They can be a valuable resource for players and coaches alike, providing clear and concise explanations of the key concepts that underpin the sport.

But rugby literature is not just about the technical aspects of the game. Many books also explore the human side of rugby, delving into the stories of the players and teams that have made the sport what it is today. Biographical memoirs, for example, can offer a unique glimpse into the lives of some of rugby’s most famous and influential figures, providing insights into their motivations, struggles, and triumphs both on and off the field.

Other books focus on the cultural and historical significance of rugby. From its origins in the public schools of England to its spread across the globe, rugby has played a unique role in shaping the social and political landscape of many countries. By exploring these broader themes, books on rugby can provide a rich and nuanced understanding of the sport and its place in the world.

Overall, the world of rugby literature is a rich and varied one, with something to offer for readers of all interests and backgrounds. Whether you’re looking to improve your skills on the field, gain a deeper appreciation of the sport’s history and culture, or simply enjoy a good story, there’s sure to be a book out there that can help you do just that.

Essential Rugby Books for Beginners

If you’re interested in rugby, there are a ton of great resources out there to help you learn the game, develop your skills, and explore its rich history and culture. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced player looking to take your game to the next level, there’s a book out there that’s perfect for you.

Understanding the Basics of Rugby

Rugby For Dummies

When you’re just getting started with rugby, it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of rules to learn, and it can be tough to figure out where to begin. That’s where “Rugby for Dummies” by Mathew Brown and Patrick Guthrie comes in. This easy-to-read book covers everything from the basics of the game to more advanced strategy and skill development.

However, if you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to the rules and techniques of rugby, “The Complete Guide to Rugby” by Tony Williams is a great option as well. This book covers everything from the history of the game to the specifics of each position, and provides detailed, step-by-step guidance on developing your skills and technique.

Developing Essential Skills and Techniques

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start developing your skills and techniques as a player. One great resource for this is “The Rugby Skills & Drills Handbook” by Rugby Coach Weekly. This comprehensive guide covers essential skills like passing, tackling, and kicking, as well as more advanced techniques like lineouts and scrums. With clear instructions and helpful visuals, this book is a must-have for any player looking to take their game to the next level.

If you’re a scrum-half looking to improve your game specifically, “The Little Book of Rugby Skills” by Carol Smith is a great resource. Covering everything from quick taps to box kicks, this book provides easy-to-follow guidance on developing the essential skills that scrum-halves need to succeed.

Rugby History and Iconic Moments

The Oval World: A Global History of Rugby

Of course, rugby isn’t just about playing the game – it’s also about the rich history and culture that surrounds it. For a deep dive into the history of rugby, “The Oval World” by Tony Collins is an excellent place to start. From the early days of the game in England to the modern era of international play, this book covers it all and provides a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of rugby over the years.

If you’re more interested in iconic moments and personalities from rugby history, “Behind the Lions” by Stephen Jones is a great option. This book delves into the history of the British and Irish Lions rugby team, exploring the key moments and personalities that have defined the team over the years. From the legendary players who have worn the famous red jersey to the memorable matches and tours that have captivated fans around the world, “Behind the Lions” is a must-read for any rugby enthusiast.

Biographies and Memoirs of Rugby Legends

Inspirational Stories of Rugby Greats

There are few things more inspiring than the stories of legendary rugby players who have overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve greatness. “The Breaks are Off” by David Wallace is a memoir of the former Irish rugby player, chronicling his journey from a childhood in Limerick to becoming one of the most respected and successful rugby players of his generation.

Another great option for inspiring rugby stories is “Rugby Warrior” by Gerard Eliot, the chronicle of the remarkable journey of Welsh rugby player Shane Williams from an undersized boy in a small Welsh town to one of the greatest players in Welsh rugby history.

Lessons Learned from Rugby Icons

The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990

From leadership to teamwork, there are many lessons to be learned from the great players who have come before us. “Legacy” by James Kerr is a highly-regarded book exploring the leadership and success principles of the legendary All Blacks rugby team from New Zealand, and provides powerful insights that can be applied not only to rugby, but to life in general.

Another great option for learning from rugby icons is “The Grudge” by Tom English, which tells the story of the infamous 1990 Five Nations rugby match between Scotland and England. Through this story, author Tom English explores the themes of nationalism, rivalry, and pride that make rugby such a powerful force in the world.

The Impact of Rugby on Players’ Lives

Despite all of the excitement and glory of rugby, the sport also takes a heavy toll on its players – physically, mentally, and emotionally. One of the most moving and impactful books on this topic is “Head On” by John M. Grohol and Arthur Kleinman, which offers an intimate look at the lives of rugby players dealing with traumatic brain injuries and other forms of physical and emotional trauma.

For a more lighthearted look at the impact of rugby on players’ lives, “Up and Under” by Mark Reason is a great option. This memoir tells the story of Reason’s experience as a rugby player and journalist, exploring the many highs and lows he’s encountered along the way.

In-Depth Rugby Strategy and Analysis

Advanced Tactics and Game Plans

The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory

Finally, for players looking to take their game to the highest level, there are books that delve deeply into the advanced tactics and game plans that are used by professional teams around the world. One great option in this category is “The Art of Rugby” by Dave Hadfield, which explores the intricate and fascinating world of advanced rugby strategy.

Another great option in this category is “The Three-Year Swim Club” by Julie Checkoway, which tells the story of a small Hawaiian community who turned their passion for rugby into a powerhouse high school team through a combination of innovative strategy and sheer determination.

Rugby Coaching and Leadership


For coaches and team leaders, there are also many great books out there on the art and science of rugby coaching. “The Rugby Coach’s Manual” by Tony Ward is a comprehensive guide to coaching at all levels, covering everything from the basics of team management to advanced tactics and skill development techniques.

If you’re more interested in leadership and team-building, “Legacy” by James Kerr (mentioned earlier) is another great option, offering powerful insights into the leadership principles that are used by the most successful rugby teams in the world.

The Science and Psychology of Rugby

Finally, for those who want to understand the science and psychology behind rugby performance, “The Art of Scrummaging” by Ross Reynolds is an excellent resource. Through detailed analysis and step-by-step guidance, this book explores the complex mechanics and strategy behind the all-important scrum, helping players and coaches alike to master this critical aspect of the game.

Rugby Culture and Traditions

The Evolution of Rugby Fashion and Gear

From the classic rugby shirt to modern high-tech gear, rugby fashion and equipment have evolved significantly over the years. For those curious about the history and evolution of rugby gear, “Rugby: The Art of Rugby” by Sara Mulvanny is a beautifully-illustrated book that explores the iconic styles and designs of rugby gear through the years.

Rugby’s Influence on Society and Pop Culture

Finally, for those interested in the broader cultural impact of rugby, “The Pride of the Lionesses” by Rachel Williams is a fascinating exploration of the history and current state of women’s rugby around the world. Through interviews and stories from players, coaches, and fans, this book explores the ways in which rugby has challenged traditional gender roles and helped to promote gender equality both on and off the field.

The Role of Rugby in International Relations

Finally, for a more geopolitical look at rugby’s impact on the world stage, “The Diplomatic Touch” by Richard Bath is a great option. This book explores the ways in which rugby has been used as a tool for diplomacy and international relations, from the famous “Rugby for Peace” match between the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone to the recent Rugby World Cup held in Japan.


Whether you’re a beginner just learning the basics or a seasoned player looking to take your game to the next level, there’s no shortage of great rugby books out there to help you learn and grow. From instructional guides to inspiring memoirs, and from tactical analyses to cultural explorations, the books on this list are sure to provide you with a deep and rewarding understanding of the game of rugby and all that it entails.

YouTube video
Eddison Monroe
Latest posts by Eddison Monroe (see all)