Published by Hachette Ireland
Publication date: 30th October 2013
Price: £24.99

"A unique look at the great game from one of Ireland’s best-known rugby commentators"


Who is the greatest Irish rugby player of all time? What was the best Irish Grand Slam team? Who are the game’s biggest rivals?

In This is Rugby, well-known rugby commentator George Hook answers key questions regarding the popular sport and, in conversation with RTÉ’s Hugh Cahill, debates some of rugby’s greatest players, teams, moments and matches.

George’s favourite Lansdowne moments, the best half-back combinations, great tournaments, Twickenham disasters, punches thrown against Irishmen – all this and more features in this illustrated hardback, along with stunning colour photographs of memorable moments and figures from Irish rugby.

From the merits of the Lions tour, to club rugby and the future of the game, This is Rugby is jam-packed with iconic photographs, memories, commentary and analysis, making this an essential book for rugby lovers everywhere.

‘Even in those early days, I resolved not to be a fan but to be an analyst’
- George Hook

From the introduction:

‘I can remember very well the day my father implanted in me the seeds of debate that today form the core of my broadcasting career. We invariably went to 11.15a.m. mass in St Augustine’s church in Cork and afterwards would walk for an hour or so while he regaled me with tales of heroism from the Second World War, the fight for Irish freedom and, above all, stories of every sport.

By the age of twelve, I knew all about the Bodyline series in cricket, the Triple Crowns and Grand Slam of the Irish rugby team and every heavyweight boxing champion since John L. Sullivan. My father did more than give me a love of sport; he gave me the belief to have the courage of your convictions.

“Never be afraid to have an opinion,’ he said. ‘Never be influenced by others. However unpopular it may be, hold your ground.”

It was then, all those years ago that the George Hook some people see as controversial was created. Every day I broadcast, my father’s words are in my head.

This book is about my opinions on who was the best, who was the worst or who was the most exciting. My aim is not for everyone to agree with me but to promote debate and discussion, which is at the very nub of all sporting conversations.

I hope you enjoy the read.’

George Hook


George Hook is a broadcaster, journalist and rugby commentator. An RTÉ rugby panellist since 1997, George also hosts ‘The Right Hook’, Newstalk’s drivetime programme, and has a regular newspaper column.

The father of three grown-up children and a grandfather of six, George was born and raised in Cork but now lives in Dublin with wife Ingrid.

George Hook is available for interview.

Time Added On

In his autobiography George Hook will tell his amazing life story for the first time, from his childhood in Cork right through to his emergence as one of the sharpest and most outspoken media commentators of today. Hook tells with painful frankness of his life and his failure as a son, as a father, as a husband and as a businessman.

He also tells about his career in catering and the constant struggle to keep the banks, his creditors and a nervous breakdown at bay. He found solace in rugby. Here for the first time is his account of how he gave Eddie O'Sullivan his first big break, how they made a success of Connacht, and how the relationship changed. It covers his controversial days coaching London Irish and how he prepared the USA for the first rugby World Cup.

He writes with a sometimes unsettling honesty about the impact it all had on his life and the lives of those he was closest to, and how he both saved his marriage and found happiness and redemption in the career for which he was made.

This is Rugby

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