England has contributed some of the greatest players and most colourful characters to the rich history of the Lions, and never more so than in recent years. During the course of little more than a decade, a golden era for the Red Rose yielded four Grand Slams en route to the thrilling climax of the World Cup victory in Sydney, a triumph which has catapulted some of the side's stars to a higher plane in the nation's affections. It is not surprising, therefore, that English players have dominated the last four Lions tours in a way which none of the home countries has done before.
Lions of England presents the country's most famous players in a series of revealing portraits, each telling a fascinating story woven around monumental Test matches. Rich in previously untold anecdote and humour, these accounts illustrate the lives and times of the greats spanning three-quarters of a century - from one pre-war knight of the realm, Carl Aarvold, to a more recent one, Clive Woodward. All the evocative names of English rugby are featured here, from Dickie Jeeps to Martin Johnson, Jeff Butterfield to Jason Robinson, Dean Richards to Lawrence Dallaglio. Other chapters are devoted to Peter Jackson (a rather better player than the author), John Pullin, Roger Uttley, Fran Cotton, David Duckham, Bill Beaumont, Peter Wheeler, Jeremy Guscott, Rob Andrew, Jason Leonard and, of course, Jonny Wilkinson.
Peter Jackson, the Daily Mail's award-winning rugby writer, has drawn on all his experience and eye for the unusual to give the reader an insight into what makes these talented players tick as people, the early influences which shaped their careers and the momentous events which made them household names.
Bang up to date with the inclusion of the summer 2005 series against the All Blacks and a comprehensive records appendix, Lions of England is sure to inform and entertain rugby lovers of every generation in equal measure.
Peter Jackson laboured for five years on this book on English icons - it was worth the effort ***** (Book of the Month)