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No sport has undergone so traumatic a transformation as rugby since the turn of the century. The last of the major sports to be granted a licence to make or dispense money, rugby was propelled on a trajectory that has twisted its cumbersome frame to the very limits of integrity and continues to do so. The pressures exerted throughout, on infrastructure, economics, administrators and, most poignantly of all, the players themselves, have conjured the perpetual impression of a sport on the brink of explosion or implosion, a drama compelling and appalling to behold.
Unholy Union is a snapshot of the sport in the early 21st century, pulling apart how we have come to be where we are, while brazenly prescribing what needs to be done next. It is ambitious in its scope, drawing on rugby's long history from the same cradle as its bigger sister, association football, while tapping into the edgy, prescriptive zeitgeist of this raging age of social media. This book will be irreverent and provocative, asking uncomfortable questions of rugby, sport and life, but it will be imbued throughout with love for a game whose ancient spirit is that of the foot soldier, that of the cavalier. The task at hand is to preserve it in the face of the professional onslaught.
About the Author
Michael Aylwin is a rugby writer for the Guardian of 20 years' experience, with a BSc in Sociology and an MA in Medieval Studies. He is the best-selling, award-winning author of five books. His last non-fiction book, Beyond the Horizon, won Rugby Book of the Year in the British Sportsbook Awards, and the one before that, A Life Without Limits, was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller, shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year.