Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Book review: 2012 Rugby Almanack

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There is a timely tribute to Jock Hobbs for his contribution to last year's World Cup, an accolade which was penned before his death last month and is now a most appropriate salute to his rugby administration work. Photo / Getty Images
There is a timely tribute to Jock Hobbs for his contribution to last year's World Cup, an accolade which was penned before his death last month and is now a most appropriate salute to his rugby administration work. Photo / Getty Images

Before rugby went professional, this bedside bible filled out about 330 pages for sporting insomniacs, tragics and trainspotters.

These days, the annual reference book stacks on about another 100 pages as it details all the extra guff about Super 15 and the bigger test rugby schedule.

It is an immense task, but one the authors complete with a minimum error count, as shown by the small list of amendments for last year's edition.

There is a timely tribute to Jock Hobbs for his contribution to last year's World Cup, an accolade which was penned before his death last month and is now a most appropriate salute to his rugby administration work.

There is also a glowing appraisal of Martin Snedden and his dedication to the success of the World Cup.

"A position of this magnitude involved making some hard and sometimes unpopular decisions," the authors wrote. "He never wavered, and invariably his decisions were the correct ones.

Potential crises were defused before they gained momentum. At all times he inspired confidence.

"Of course there were the usual doomsayers - it will never work, ticket prices too high, replica jersey prices too high, stadium improvement costs too high, no one will go to see the lesser games, everything involving the IRB is automatically wrong - and many more. Fortunately, and as expected, their impact on the occasion rather than being a negative was in fact zero."

All that seems a long time ago, but if your recollection of the last season is a shade hazy, if you collected a whack on the swede somewhere or had one over the eight during the World Cup, then whistle out to the bookshop and claim one of these written memory cards.

Leave your copy on the table by the TV because as good as the commentators are, committed rugby viewers always have questions that niggle them and as sure as Stephen Donald kicked the World Cup-winning penalty, the answer is in the almanack.

2012 Rugby Almanack
Edited by Clive Akers and Geoff Miller
Published by Hodder Mo

- NZ Herald

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