In his 1997 book, Winter Colours, author Donald McCrae assessed the modern game after the first two years of rugby achieving professional status. Now, in The Winter Game, Todd R. Nicholls investigates the state of modern rugby throughout the world today. He examines the ways in which the game has changed since McCrae's analysis and considers whether or not these changes have been beneficial. Nicholls looks at the game from a number of different perspectives and, in doing so, provides a clear indication of the major issues facing the sport in 2005 and a glimpse into what the future may hold. Beginning with England's triumphant World Cup win in November 2003 and culminating with the Lions Tour of New Zealand, Nicholls examines the sport at each level in the major countries in which it is played.
Elsewhere in the book the author covers the origins, aims and achievements of both the Super 12 and the Tri-Nations; assesses the background of the Zurich Premiership and how this competition fits into the world rugby calendar; interviews members of the 2005 Six Nations squads to ask their opinions on rugby's current burning issues; reviews the state of the game in post-Apartheid South Africa; and concludes by examining whether or not rugby is in a healthier position now than it was when it was an amateur sport. Meticulously researched and breathtaking in scope, The Winter Game takes the reader on an exhilarating journey around the world of rugby over the past 18 months and predicts what direction the game will take from here on in.
Todd R. Nicholls was born in Ireland and has written for the Irish Times, Ireland on Sunday and the Irish News. He is also the author of a biography of former New Zealand rugby league captain Hugh McGahan.