Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger

Living dangerously with Leicester, England and the Lions

By Lewis Moody with Paul Morgan

Foreword by Martin Johnson

RRP: £16.99
Online shop price: £10.99

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ISBN: 0954642856

Format: Hardback

Pages: 288pp

Size: 234 x 153mm

Weight: 580grammes

Illustrations: 6pp full colour

Published: September 2005

The ball is hoisted high into the air and for a second a calm hush envelops the stadium. Then it begins to fall and, down at ground level, a streak of blond catches the eye, careering down the pitch. By the time the ball comes to earth the blond has become a blur as Lewis Moody hurtles towards his target, propels himself into the air and launches himself suicidally at the ball and any opponent or team-mate who dares to impede his path.

Lewis Moody plays rugby as if each game is his last and Year of the Tiger – his diary of his 2004/05 season with Leicester, England and the British & Irish Lions – is written with the same energy and enthusiasm, not to mention a dose of utter insanity.

Brutally honest and at times hilariously funny, Year of the Tiger takes you inside the Leicester, England and Lions dressing rooms as Moody details a rollercoaster season of triumph and tragedy, on-field bust-ups and post-match beers, agonising injuries and mad jokes and pranks.

From getting knocked out by a Martin Johnson training ground punch to taking guitar lessons from Jonny Wilkinson on the Lions tour, Year of the Tiger is a unique and entertaining insight into the world of top class rugby and the life of one of Leicester and England's brightest rugby talents.

"We all know Lewis is a lunatic on the field, and mad enough to square up to me at a Leicester training session earlier in the season. I remember that after he clashed with another player I stepped in and, before I knew what had happened, he had walked onto my fist and was on the floor. I had no intention of hitting him and he genuinely walked on to it. I thought: 'Oh no, I have hurt him!' But in typical Lewis fashion did he hold a grudge? Did he even get grumpy? Of course he didn't. He loved it and, as he had just come back from a serious injury, he was just delighted to be back in the thick of it with the lads."
Martin Johnson

Reviews

RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION

November 2005

Welcome to the roller coaster ride that is Lewis Moody's (Leicester Tigers) diary of the 2004/05 season. It's a no holds barred book that takes the reader vividly through the highs and lows of a tough season for Lewis at club and international level culminating in the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

Injuries sustained on and off (!) the pitch (see Christmas 2004 in the book) show the frustration he feels about missing not just games but training. Yes training! He misses it in all weathers including the 'boshing' and full contact sessions, which he obviously enjoys so much.

The tone of the book is set by the excellent foreword from his former Captain with Tigers and England, Martin Johnson. Johnno recounts thumping Lewis in training and the two of them quickly forgetting it in the changing room afterwards with Johnno concluding that Lewis enjoyed the whole anyway so there were no hard feelings!

The dressing room banter, something all players say they miss when they retire, is alive and well in 'Year of the Tiger' with Austin Healey copping his usual amount of grief. Something he seems to suffer from in other rugby books. I wonder why?

Lewis also takes the reader through his domestic life, his obvious love for his fiancée, Annie, and also his IKEA flatpacking skills or lack of them as he tries to put together a wardrobe.

Some season diaries can be a bit mundane but this one is a bit different as the reader genuinely gets an insight into what makes Lewis tick on and off the pitch. At times 'Year of the Tiger' is a brutally honest book but it gives the reader a very good idea what its like to be an international rugby player. It's well worth a read.

Read the review on www.rfu.com

THE EAST TERRACE

November 2005

With all the fuss and hullabaloo that surrounded the recent diaries of Brian O'Driscoll and Gavin Henson, this season diary from England and Leicester flanker Lewis Moody has sneaked onto the bookshelves under the radar. Moody isn't as obvious a choice for such a publication as the aforementioned centres are and the book lacks the controversy that benefited their books as well.

However, that isn't to say it lacks interest. Indeed, it certainly makes for a more entertaining read than O'Driscoll's volume did and gives a more revealing picture of daily life as a professional player than Henson's book managed.

At the time of writing this review, Moody is serving a nine-week ban for his part in the England v Samoa flair up in the final game of the autumn internationals. Moody could, perhaps, use his unwanted free time away from the rugby field to promote his book and get it in the public eye. Although he may not want to draw too much attention to some of the paragraphs that may not exactly endear him to the RFU, given his recent behaviour:

"One young lad from Northampton takes me out as I'm about to play the ball and I absolutely leather him before an almighty fight breaks out and I'm sent to the sin bin. I manage to calm down a little and realise I've been a bit crazed. I've just been going around trying to hurt people. I've not been playing any rugby at all, just hitting people. Outside rugby I'm a fairly placid guy, but once I'm on the pitch I go hell for leather. I become almost psychotic. I actually dream about hitting people on the pitch."

Moody is a player, as anyone who has ever watched him chase a kick off will attest, that lives on the edge. It is both fascinating and enjoyable to watch such a competitor, but equally frustrating when it all goes that bit too far. However, Moody remains a likeable character as most of his indiscretions seem to stem from over-enthusiasm and exuberance rather any genuine malice or nastiness. His account of his attempt to pep up what he felt was a lacklustre training session with Leicester raises both a chuckle and a groan. It results in skirmish, ironically in the context of his Twickenham red card ordeal, involving a defence session, a couple of the Tuilagi brothers, an effective Martin Johnson punch and a dazed Lewis Moody.

Away from the tales of fisticuffs, one of the book's stronger points is Moody's refusal to take himself too seriously and his ability to mock himself for his over-zealous approach to the game.

"When I first met Josh (Kronfeld) I hated him Well, I was only 20 and this legend was coming in to take my job away. I remember the first time we met we were in the gym doing pre-season fitness tests and I just thought, "I'll show him!" He did a load of chin-ups. I did a load of chin-ups. He did 20 weighted chin-ups with a 20kg disc. At that time I think I could manage ten reps with ten kilos, but because he'd done that, of course I decided, "Sod it, I'm doing 22kgs!" (much to the amusement and horror of fitness instructor John Duggan). Equally predictably, I managed two reps. Well, two and a half. I could see Josh looking at me as if to say, 'Just what are you doing?'"

Moody's love of the game and his general zest for life come across in Year of the Tiger and most rugby readers will appreciate his affection for the sport and his honest attitude to many aspects of the modern game. Similarly, those who find Clive Woodward's 'radical' motivational concepts an irritant will enjoy Moody's quote on one of the pre Lion tour manoeuvres:

"The postman delivers a slightly late, but very special Christmas card this morning. It's from Clive Woodward, who will be coaching the Lions next summer. It's in the form of six postcards and some pretty gay Lions wristbands, confirming that I'm being considered for the trip. They will remain in their packaging."

Year of the Tiger is an entertaining read for those wanting an insiders view of the daily grind of the professional circuit. As with all titles of these kinds, it isn't something you are likely to return to over the years on too many occasions, but it certainly makes for a great stocking filler this Christmas for enthusiastic rugby fans.

In the light of recent events at Twickenham though, Moody will be cringing at the amount of references in the book to his short fuse and all the punches he throws on the field. The publishers, however, won't mind a bit.

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