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Summary

Sam Warburton OBE was not only a titan of Welsh rugby but an icon of the game. Having represented his country as a player and team captain at all junior levels, he propelled himself to international attention in 2011 when named as the youngest ever captain of Wales for the Rugby World Cup. 

Despite his tender age, Sam's immense displays for club and country were recognised still further in April 2013, when, at just 24, he was named the Lions' captain for the extraordinary 2013 tour to Australia. Four years later, after a year in the wilderness, Sam was named Lions captain yet again for the historic tour to New Zealand, thereby becoming the first ever Lions Captain never to lose a series in the professional era. 

Intelligent, calm, thoughtful, in many ways seemingly the exact opposite of the smash and crash of modern rugby, Warburton's edge never came with his size but with his depth of thought, his reading of movement, and his understanding that, to be a uniquely successful leader, one needs to set goals that far exceed the ambitions of even the most ferocious of opponents. In leading other men, and in pitting himself against the world's best, Warburton was forced repeatedly to push himself to the very edge of his physiological and mental limits, the 21 significant operations over that period a painful testament to his sacrifice. 

Open Side is therefore not simply a chronology of events or a celebration of statistics. Written in a compelling but soul searching style, this is an astoundingly personal book exploring the nature of leadership, the value of self-control, the precision of mind-set and of course the future of the game. It is also a deeply personal meditation on the sacrifice of body, the torment of injury and the pain of retirement, a decision Sam was forced to make in July 2018, at just 29 years old. 

Never before has a rugby autobiography given such intimate access not only to the realities of the dressing room and the heroes and villains of the modern game but to the unique mind-set required to make someone a genuinely great leader of men. 

©2019 Sam Warburton (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A terrific book. No one put their body on the line quite like Sam Warburton." (Brian O’Driscoll)

"It was an absolute privilege to play against Sam. An inspiring leader with an equally inspiring story to tell." (Jonny Wilkinson)

"I'm so accustomed to doing these rugby/football book serialisations and most of the time am left somewhat underwhelmed. But from start to finish I feel Warburton really delivers. Really candid, takes you inside the dressing room, behind the scenes anecdotes few know about and nicely written in chatty fashion." (Head of Sport, WalesOnline)

What listeners say about Open Side

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Decent story, appalling pronounciations

The pronunciations of many names were absolutely atrocious, and sadly passages in the Welsh language were totally butchered. Embarrassing and should’ve been done better on both counts, or at least checked?!

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A fascinating insight

A fascinating insight into the life and career of a modern-day rugby great. If you are a Wales or Lions rugby fan then this is a must-listen. It is a well-written and completely honest account of his life and career. My only gripe is with the narrator. He has a Welsh accent but it's not the Cardiff accent that Sam has. But, more importantly, it is clear that he is not a rugby fan himself as he mispronounces so many names of players, coaches and refs. He even gets some of the song titles wrong. For true rugby fans, these mistakes are glaring and it shows up again that it's not Sam narrating, unfortunately.

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Bloody Amazing

I absolutely loved this book and the story it told I cannot thank Sam Warburton enough for his commitment and performances for Wales and I’d like to thank Sam Kennedy Warburton for an amazing story and allowing us a slight incline into his life.

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Excellent

Loved it. Took me back to every significant match day over the past 10 years of Wales and Lions rugby from Sam's perspective. I also thoroughly enjoyed the leadership advice at the end of each chapter. It reminded me of Ant Middleton's First Man in. Highly recommended for any rugby fan.

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Butchered pronunciation of Names

Interesting and insightful, but any slightly difficult name was butchered along with some welsh pronunciations.

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Amazing insight into one of Wales’ true rugby warriors.

I loved the heart on the sleeve, extremely personal account of SW’s life via Rugby. What strength. I just wish SW had narrated himself. What a true emotional rollercoaster it would have been.

On the whole though… I love Sam Warburton. Total professional👍🏻

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absolutley brillant book

God I couldn't stop listening, amazing.
narrator is very good but butchers some of the pronunciations!

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Engaging and Encouraging

Great read from a young legend of a Great game Shame he didn't narrate
but you get a lot of this in sports biography.
Highly recommend this book

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very inspiring book

realy enjoyed this book and learned alot about what it takes to be a pro rugby player along with some stuff to take back to my grassroots club

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a must for any rugby / sport fan.

great insight to how it all fits together and talks about skills that can be used in everyday life not just rugby. great book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-20

Exceptional!!

Great story, gives a lot of insight of the life of an professional rugby player!