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Heads Held High

Phil Bennett
Max Boyce
ISBN-13: 
9781854115713
Publication Date: 
Thursday, November 24, 2011
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For those of us who are still feeling the pain of that fateful night in Auckland when fate conspired to rob Wales of a deserved World Cup Final place, this book serves as a reminder of the immense highs and lows we all experienced during the Autumn. -- gwladrugby.com

For two weeks in October, Wales held its breath. In the Rugby World Cup, with an influx of young players and probably the most exciting rugby played in the competition, Wales had negotiated a difficult qualifying group to reach a quarter final against an unbeaten Ireland side.

Ireland were despatched 22:10; next up was a France side which had misfired throughout the tournament. In New Zealand and at home, Wales believed: over 60,000 people watched the game at the Millennium Stadium. But injuries to key players, missed kicks, and the sending off of skipper Sam Warburton meant that Wales came up just short in a grippingly tense match they dominated. And defeat against Australia in their last game left Wales fourth. Yet this was still a time for celebration. Wales had lost to three of the world’s top sides by a collective margin of five points. It couldn’t have been closer, and the Wales squad could return home confident for the future and with their heads held high.

Max Boyce is a comedian, singer and cultural icon, closely associated with Wales’ national sport. Phil Bennett is one of Wales’ most famous fly-halves. He played for Llanelli, Wales, the Barbarians and the British Lions. He is now a television commentator and newspaper columnist.

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Review from gwladrygby.com

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As a phrase, “A picture says a thousand words” can be over-used, but when you look at the miles of column space devoted to Wales’s ultimately doomed 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign, it would be nice to have them all distilled into a wordless series of dramatic, emotional and revealing photographs.

Heads Held High
from Seren Books does exactly that, albeit with the photos sandwiched by a pragmatic assessment of Wales’s campaign by Phil Bennett, and a typically poetic epilogue from Max Boyce.

For those of us who are still feeling the pain of that fateful night in Auckland when fate conspired to rob Wales of a deserved World Cup Final place, this book serves as a reminder of the immense highs and lows we all experienced during the Autumn.

It’s amazing how a photograph can take you back to a moment during a match, bringing it back to life and forcing you to re-live the emotions you felt as you watched it for the first time. As a piece of silent reportage on Wales’s World Cup campaign this is a splendid memento to have.

There will be many more books written about Rugby World Cup 2011, but few of those thousands of words will come close to capturing the spirit and fervent feelings we all experienced when a nation dared to believe that the impossible was possible.

09/12/2011 - 09:16