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World in Union: A History of the Rugby World Cup in XV Matches

Published Date: May 17, 2023

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Foreward by Sean Fitzpatrick


World in Union is the story of the Rugby World Cup told via its fifteen most important and dramatic matches.


From the inauspicious beginnings of the 1987 tournament, which nearly didn’t happen due to back-room politics, and the amateur era’s aversion to commercialism, the Rugby World Cup has grown into the third largest sporting event in the world, behind only the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.


World in Union looks at the greatest games and the biggest controversies played out on the Rugby World Cup stage with each chapter focusing on a different game. Western Samoa breaking Welsh hearts, the emergence of Jonah Lomu, Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar uniting the Rainbow Nation, Wilkinson’s drop for World Cup glory, France’s habit of spoiling the All Blacks’ party, Sam Warburton’s controversial sending off and Japan’s greatest moment―all this and more is covered in this enjoyable narrative for all rugby fans.

Author information

James Dixon (Rugby World, FourFourTwo, Athletics Weekly) is a sportswriter and historian with an interest in the social, economic, and political history of sport.

His debut book, The Fix, told the story of the establishment of the UEFA Champions League during a period of economic and political tumult in Europe and European Football.

In World in Union, he’s turned his attention to the Rugby World Cup and the existential role it played in rugby’s battle between amateurism and professionalism. James currently resides in England.



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