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Beware of the Dog by Brian Moore

Release date: 04th January, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: £17.99
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Beware of the Dog
Brian Moore
Simon & Schuster

Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £8.98, saving 50% on rrp

At his rugby-playing peak, Brian 'Pitbull' Moore personified the word 'uncompromising', a genuine hard man who simply refused to take a backward step, and how Englishmen everywhere loved him for it. This equally uncompromising memoir suggests the love was not necessarily reciprocated - he admits to hating England's 'turgid anthem', Swing Low, Sweet Chariots as belted out at HQ by what he calls 'the Home Counties set'.

In the pantheon of sporting hard men - think Terry Butcher or Martin Johnson - Moore deserves an honourable mention at the very least, though by his own admission, he was a difficult man to like. Admire perhaps, but not embrace like a long-lost brother. Nor, in truth, was he an inspirational leader, but his overtly physical on-field manner gave rise to contemplative thoughts amongst the watching millions who invariably thanked God for the fact that he was on our side.

Moore won 64 England caps in an international career spanning eight years, during which he competed in three World Cups, won the Grand Slam in 1991, 1992 and 1995 and was selected for two British Lions tours. In 1991, he won rugby's World Player of the Year award.

His second autobiography should be a retrospective ramble, but instead it reveals jet-black recollections.

Moore was sexually abused at primary school by a male teacher, a sickening revelation, though he does not dwell on the fact (although at the book's launch, it captured most of the headlines) but he does concede that the experience damaged his future relationships. He is twice divorced, but appears to have found a soul mate in his third wife.

While playing for England, he was a practising solicitor, a job tailor-made for such an aggressive, uncompromising character. On the field of play, he was never gracious in victory, though he would no doubt argue that there was never any need for him to be so.

Some critics have suggested that he has missed an opportunity to apologise for the violence in which he participated. In fairness, professional sport, and rugby in particular, is a dog-eat-dog world and there is no requirement for the Pitbull to apologise for anything he did, though it's easy to see how he would fail to endear himself to commentators or critics. Most of us have an idea what his reaction would be to that.

Moore is undoubtedly a complicated man who, though he no longer practises as a lawyer, appears not to have mellowed. He is a troubled soul who, instead of taking the easy, affable, anecdotal option, has written a genuinely warts-and-all autobiography (and he wrote every word) in the same way as he would have torn into a ruck twenty years ago.

He's still uncompromising - on television and in print - which is why Beware of the Dog is such a compelling read.


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