I don’t read many autobiographies, but this one sounded promising. After slogging half way through the recent Brian O’Driscoll book and giving it up as a lost cause, I was hoping that this would be something different, and thankfully, it was.
I’m a huge fan of rugby, and I’ve always liked and respected Peter Stringer as a player. Someone once described him as the perfect scrum-half, “He’s exactly what it says on the tin.” I thought this comment very apt.
Many other scrum halves try to be an extra centre, and coaches are looking at bigger, scrum half’s to impose more physicality of the game. Me, I prefer a clever, sniping scrum half; a bundle of energy with good hands, quick feet and a sharp mind. Peter Stringer fits that bill. Watching his play for Bath last season, I’m glad to say that he still does.
But you want to know about the book, right?
The first impression you get from the book is Peter’s love of the game. The second is his work ethic and professional approach to everything he does, even at an early age.
The story is a fascinating read, but it’s more than that. It’s an insight into the personality behind the persona of Peter Stringer.
For instance, there is very little blowing of his own trumpet in this book. Far from it, in fact. He does, however, give enormous credit to those around him, his family, team mates, and the back room staff he respected. He gives credit where it is due, but isn’t afraid to criticise either. This book packs a few punches too.
As Peter’s life progressed into the era of professional rugby, he is quite frank about his frustrations at being left on the bench, his self-doubts, and the struggles he had to overcome to fight for his place on the starting fifteen, or even the squad.
It tells us about the hard decisions he was forced to make in order to keep on doing what he always loved; playing rugby. He speaks candidly about leaving Munster, a team he was fiercely loyal to, and making a new life for himself in the English Premiership.
The story ends with two positive notes; his time in Bath, and his wife.
Personally, I loved the book from start to finish, and wish Peter success in his new contract in Sale, his career as a player, and hopefully, at some later stage, that of a coach.
I’m sure that his professional attitude and passion for the game will be in high demand in the near future, so that he can inspire a new generation of scrum halves to wear the red of Munster, or the Green of Ireland.