We catch up with author, Graeme Copas…
Q. Hi Graeme! Congratulations on the publication of The Rugby World Cup 2019 Book: Everything You need to Know About the Rugby World Cup – that’s a big claim! What does the book cover? What was your thinking behind it?
A. Thank you! It’s good to see it out there today. I wanted to produce a comprehensive guide that includes all that I’d like to know about the world cup – but in an easy going way. I’m a sports journalist so I always have lots of questions – and this book is about answering those and providing fascinating facts, in depth analysis and interviews along the way. The book has been written to be accessible to newcomers to the game, those who take a passing interest and the rugby aficionado. I’m very pleased with the end result!
Q. It sounds like there was a lot of research involved. How long did the process take? Presumably your background in sports journalism was invaluable here?
A. The whole process took about four months, initially part-time and then full-time towards the end. Yes, there was a lot of research, but it was a labour of love. I have tried to write the book in a journalistic style, finding past quotes and information on teams and players. These should help readers enjoy the World Cup and have a greater understanding of the game. The book is not just a monologue of facts and figures, there is opinion, topics for debate and even a rugby glossary for those who are less familiar with the sport.
Q. You’re a sports journalist and editor with more than 25 years experience of sports writing. Why rugby?
A. I am fascinated by most sports – especially cricket, hockey and rowing – but rugby has always been one of my passions. So, with the World Cup on the horizon, now seemed the right time to write the sort of guidebook I would like to read about a sport I love. Rugby is a game which combines pace, power and skill on the pitch with an emphasis on community and respect once the final whistle has been blown. All things I can relate to.
Q. Are you a rugby player yourself?
A. I played a lot of rugby at school. It was a rugby school – football was not on the curriculum! But that was fine by me. When I left school I played hockey, rather than rugby, during the winter months for a local club, but never lost my passion for the sport.
Q. Do you support a local rugby team?
A. On a local level, I have always supported my home town team of Maidenhead – a club my brother played for many times. It’s a progressive club, which now plays in the fifth level of rugby in the UK, but works hard to maintain its links to the community. Grassroots rugby and a dynamic youth policy remain at the heart of the club, and long may it continue. Nationally, I have always followed London Irish, although it’s been a rollercoaster ride in the last few years, but I think the club is finally getting back on track. Professionally, I have written match reports and stories on both, which has been a joy.
Q. There’s a foreword by Will Greenwood. How did that come about?
A. Will is, of course, a World Cup winner with England in 2003 and now a respected broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He lives locally and joined Maidenhead a few years ago to maintain his fitness plus also give back to the grassroots of the sport – something he’s passionate about. He now coaches the backline at the club and loves every minute of it. He is also a huge advocate of the World Cup – I know he will be in Japan for the tournament – and agreed to write the foreword to the book. I’m delighted and honoured he did.
Q. Presumably you’re going to be following The Rugby World Cup closely when it kicks off in September…?
A. Absolutely. I’m following all the preparations closely at this point too. I intend to provide updates, useful information and informed commentary through social media in the coming months. There will be lots to talk about.
Q. What’s the best way for readers to ‘tune in’ to your updates and commentary?
A. In the first instance, following me on twitter is probably a good bet. My handle is @GraemeCopas. My publishers, Meyer & Meyer, might well post some updates on here too as well as on their own social media pages. Follow me and watch this space.
Q. So what’s next for Graeme Copas, author?
A. I have ideas for two or three more rugby books, including a biography. There is so much happening in the sport at the moment. Globally, rugby is finding a new audience which should be broadened with this year’s World Cup taking place in South East Asia for the first time. It’s exciting times.
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Graeme!
The Rugby World Cup 2019 Book: Everything You Need to Know About the Rugby World Cup is published in the UK on 27 June 2019.
It is available from all good bookstores and online through this link
Graeme Copas is a sports journalist and editor with more than 25 years experience in regular reporting on rugby and other sports at all levels from grassroots to major international events. While his knowledge of other sports such as rowing, hockey and cricket is encyclopaedic, rugby is his passion, and this shows in his writing.
He is a regular contributor to various sports journals, is a competent broadcaster and creator of a sports podcast.
Graeme has lived and observed rugby in Australia and New Zealand as well as all over the UK, and now lives in his home town of Maidenhead in Berkshire.