Welcome to the Rugby World Cup book club!

Do well at the Rugby World Cup and you could be in Japan for eight weeks. For players that means a lot of time spent in their hotels, with feet up, resting.

It’s not just players either. For match officials, administrators, writers and broadcasters – and of course the fans – this is a long time to be away. So for many people, in their down time abroad, they like to read.

We asked some well-known names what is on their reading list while they are in the Land of the Rising Sun. There are certainly some curveballs in there…


David Pocock (Australia) – Community-based Control of Invasive Species by Paul Martin, Theodore Alter, Don Hine and Tanya Howard and The Overstory by Richard Powers.

Beauden Barrett (New Zealand) – The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler

Tyler Ardron (Canada) – Children of the Broken Treaty by Charlie Angus

PJ van Lill (Namibia) – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

John Barclay (Scotland) – This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Sam Underhill (England) – The Art of Logic by Eugenia Cheng

Rhys Patchell (Wales) – The Sports Gene by David Epstein

Lesley Klim (Namibia) – The Test by Brian O’Driscoll

Zander Fagerson (Scotland) – Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy The Odds by David Goggins

David Sisi (Italy) – How To Be A Footballer by Peter Crouch

Will Hooley (USA) – Open by Andre Agassi

Greig Laidlaw (Scotland) – My Name’5 Doddie by Doddie Weir


Wayne Barnes (referee) –Nancy Wake by Peter FitzSimons

Brett Gosper (World Rugby CEO) – Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward


Sarah Mockford (editor of Rugby World) – An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Stephen Jones (Rugby correspondent at the Sunday Times and RW columnist) – Disrupted: Ludicrous Misadventures in the Tech Start-up Bubble by Dan Lyons. Also The Obituary Writer by Lauren St John, The Big Miss by Hank Haney and My Chernobyl by Alexander Borovoi. Also recommends Unholy Union: When Rugby Collided with the Modern World by Michael Aylwin and Mark Evans.

Chris Jones (BBC rugby correspondent and 5 Live commentator) – Selection Day by Aravind Adiga and Open Side by Sam Warburton

Charlie Morgan (Telegraph rugby writer) – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Noah Harari

And as a bonus, one player was honest enough to admit that he is bingeing TV instead of reading a book, with Italy’s Seb Negri telling RW: “My mum will kill me for saying this but I’m currently not reading anything. I’m on  Netflix while we travel etc and watching Designated Survivor.”

Fair play. We suspect he isn’t the only one on the boxsets!

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