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Rugby Books and Documentaries: Must-See for Fans

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Are you a rugby fan eager to dive deeper into the heart and history of your favourite sport? The storied pastime has given us countless gripping tales, from dusty fields to world cup victories.

Our curated list of must-read books and must-watch documentaries will enrich your understanding and ignite your passion for the game. Discover the legends, the battles, and the spirit of rugby – read on!

Key Takeaways

  • Dive into “Sevens Heaven” by Ben Ryan, the gripping tale of his transformation from an English villager to a sevens rugby superstar, which won the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year and Heineken Rugby Book of the Year awards in 2019.
  • Explore classic rugby literature like “Tom Brown’s School Days,” an 1857 novel that gives readers a look at early rugby culture at Rugby School, or delve into personal accounts with Brian Moore’s “Beware of the Dog” and John Daniell’s “Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary.”
  • Watch top documentaries such as “Living with Lions,” capturing behind-the-scenes moments from British and Irish Lions’ tour; “Pacific Warriors,” revealing rugby’s influence in Pacific Islands; and “Building Jerusalem,” detailing England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup journey.
  • Discover must-watch films like Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus,” portraying Nelson Mandela’s use of rugby for South African unity post-apartheid, and find inspirational stories in films such as “Forever Strong,” where a troubled teen finds purpose through playing rugby.
  • Access this rich content on online streaming platforms, local bookstores, dedicated fan websites, and within social media communities to satisfy your passion for all things related to this storied sport.

Must-Read Rugby Books

Explore the emotional story of Rassie Erasmus and the insight into Sevens rugby with Ben Ryan’s “Sevens Heaven,” a winner of the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year award.

Rassie Erasmus emotional story

Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s rugby mastermind, has a journey that reads like an epic tale full of ups and downs. His emotional story grips the heart, from his early days coaching at modest levels to leading the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2019.

Fans witness raw passion as he faces personal challenges with grace under pressure.

Erasmus’ narrative isn’t just about strategies on the pitch; it delves deep into life lessons off it. His resilience inspires millions globally, making his story a must-see for rugby enthusiasts seeking something more than just game tactics—something that speaks directly to the soul of this beloved sport.

Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan

Ben Ryan’s “Sevens Heaven” is a captivating tale of an unconventional journey, chronicling how the author, a 40-year-old Englishman from a small village, transformed into a sevens rugby superstar.

This book offers an intimate look at the world of sevens rugby and provides fans with an inspiring story of resilience, determination, and triumph against all odds. “Sevens Heaven” was awarded the prestigious Telegraph Sports Book of the Year Award and Heineken Rugby Book of the Year Award in 2019, solidifying its status as essential reading for rugby enthusiasts.

Ryan’s engaging storytelling brings to life his experiences in the fast-paced world of sevens rugby, offering readers a front-row seat to his journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the most respected figures in the sport.

Winner of Telegraph Sports Book of the Year

Sevens Heaven,” winner of the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year, is an inspiring and captivating read for rugby enthusiasts. Ben Ryan’s emotional journey from a small English village to becoming a sevens superstar is a story that resonates with fans.

The book offers a gripping narrative that delves into the passion, determination, and obstacles faced by players in their pursuit of sporting greatness. With its compelling storytelling and intimate look at the world of rugby sevens, “Sevens Heaven” stands out as an essential addition to any fan’s reading list.

This award-winning book provides an insider’s view into the electrifying world of rugby sevens, offering readers a deep appreciation for the sport’s culture and spirit. Through vivid storytelling and personal insights, “Sevens Heaven” captures the essence of rugby while celebrating the triumphs and challenges encountered by players on their path to glory.

Classic Rugby Literature

Featuring timeless tales of rugby culture and tradition, classic rugby literature offers a deeper look into the sport’s history and impact. From Tom Brown’s School Days to Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary, these books provide an immersive experience for fans.

Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes‘ iconic novel, “Tom Brown’s School Days,” published in 1857, offers a captivating glimpse into the world of rugby at Rugby School. This timeless literary classic immerses readers in the historic culture and camaraderie of the sport, providing an authentic portrayal of rugby’s early days.

The vivid narrative paints a rich picture of life at Rugby School and its deep-rooted connection to the beloved game, making it essential reading for any rugby enthusiast seeking to delve into the sport’s storied past.

Featuring gripping storytelling and an insightful portrayal of rugby’s origins, “Tom Brown’s School Days” by Thomas Hughes remains a must-read for those eager to explore the roots of one of England’s most cherished sports traditions.

Beware of the Dog by Brian Moore

Beware of the Dog by Brian Moore offers a candid and no-holds-barred look into the world of rugby. In this autobiography, Moore shares his experiences as an England international and delves into the intense physicality and mental fortitude required to compete at the highest level of the sport.

The book provides an insider’s perspective on the challenges faced by professional athletes, making it a compelling read for rugby enthusiasts seeking a deeper understanding of the game.

Moore’s unflinching portrayal of his career sheds light on the sacrifices, triumphs, and disappointments that come with pursuing excellence in rugby. The book is filled with anecdotes that showcase Moore’s resilience and determination, offering readers valuable insights into what it takes to succeed in one of the most demanding sports.

Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary by John Daniell

John Daniell’s “Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary” offers an insider’s view into the intense world of professional rugby. The book provides a raw and honest portrayal of the challenges and sacrifices made by players in pursuit of success.

Daniell, with his firsthand experience as a former player, delves into the physical and mental demands placed on those involved in the sport, shedding light on the grueling nature of professional rugby.

Through compelling storytelling, “Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary” takes readers behind the scenes, providing a glimpse into the relentless dedication and unyielding commitment required to thrive in top-level rugby.

Top Rugby Documentaries

Living with Lions, Pacific Warriors, and Building Jerusalem are some of the top rugby documentaries that offer an inside look at the world of rugby. For more recommendations on must-see rugby books and documentaries, keep reading!

Living with Lions

“Living with Lions” offers rugby fans an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the British and Irish Lions1997 tour of South Africa. This compelling documentary provides a raw and intimate insight into the players’ experiences, challenges, and triumphs throughout the grueling tour.

With access to team meetings, training sessions, and match-day preparations, viewers are immersed in the intense world of professional rugby.

The documentary “Living with Lions” captures the passion and camaraderie within the Lions squad as they face formidable opponents on South African soil. It showcases the dedication and resilience demanded by top-level international rugby, making it an essential viewing experience for fans eager to delve into the heart of this historic tour.

Pacific Warriors

“Pacific Warriors” explores the impact of rugby on the Pacific Islands, shedding light on the cultural significance of the sport in this region. The documentary vividly showcases how rugby plays a pivotal role in shaping communities and providing hope for young athletes.

Through compelling storytelling and breathtaking footage, “Pacific Warriors” delves deep into the passion, determination, and resilience that define Pacific Island rugby. Viewers are treated to a unique perspective that highlights the immense talent and unwavering spirit of players from Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga as they strive for recognition on the global stage.

Rugby enthusiasts will gain valuable insights into not only the game itself but also its profound influence on Pacific Island societies. “Pacific Warriors” is an essential watch for fans who wish to understand the rich heritage and enduring legacy of rugby in these vibrant communities, making it a must-see documentary for those seeking a deeper connection with this beloved sport.

Building Jerusalem

“Building Jerusalem” provides an in-depth look at England’s journey to the 2003 Rugby World Cup victory. The documentary captures the drama, passion, and determination of the team as they strive to secure their place in history.

It offers a behind-the-scenes view of the players’ experiences, their training regimes, and the intense pressure they faced on their path to glory. Through exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage, “Building Jerusalem” gives fans a compelling insight into one of rugby’s most iconic moments.

The film also delves into the impact of this historic win on English rugby and its enduring legacy within the sport. It encapsulates the resilience, teamwork, and sheer determination that propelled England to triumph on rugby’s biggest stage.

Other Must-See Rugby Films

– All or Nothing: All Blacks takes viewers behind the scenes of the legendary New Zealand rugby team, offering an intimate look at their journey to victory. Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela used rugby as a tool for reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa.

Forever Strong is a heart-pounding sports drama that follows a troubled youth finding redemption through playing rugby.

All or Nothing: All Blacks

“All or Nothing: All Blacks” offers an intimate look at the New Zealand national rugby team, providing fans with a behind-the-scenes view of the players and their journey. The documentary delves into the team culture, on and off-field dynamics, and the intense pressure faced by one of the most successful teams in rugby history.

It showcases the dedication, resilience, and drive that have made the All Blacks legendary in the world of rugby.

The documentary provides a captivating insight into what it takes to be part of an iconic sports institution while highlighting the challenges, triumphs, and sacrifices involved in representing a nation on the global stage.


Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, is a must-see for rugby fans. The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite post-apartheid South Africa.

With spectacular on-field action and compelling behind-the-scenes drama, Invictus offers an intimate look at the role of sport in healing a nation’s wounds.

The movie captures the electrifying energy of the tournament as well as Mandela’s vision for using rugby to bring people together. Through powerful storytelling and brilliant performances, Invictus celebrates the unifying power of sports while shedding light on a pivotal moment in history.

Forever Strong

Transitioning from the compelling rugby drama of “Invictus” to the next must-see for fans, “Forever Strong,” this film tells the story of a troubled teen who finds redemption through rugby.

Set in a juvenile detention center, the protagonist joins a renowned high school rugby team and learns valuable life lessons and discipline through the sport. This emotionally gripping film showcases the transformational power of rugby and its ability to inspire hope and resilience in individuals facing adversity.

As part of your journey into the heart of rugby, “Forever Strong” offers an essential viewing experience for fans seeking uplifting stories that highlight the positive impact of the sport on individuals’ lives.

Where to Find Rugby Books and Documentaries

You can find rugby books and documentaries on online streaming platforms, in bookstores, on rugby fan websites, and within social media communities. Whether you’re looking for classic reads or the latest film releases, there are plenty of options available to satisfy your love for all things rugby.

Online streaming platforms

You can access a wide range of rugby documentaries and films on popular online streaming platforms. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu offer an extensive selection of classic rugby literature, award-winning documentaries, and must-watch films for rugby enthusiasts.

From the gripping stories of legendary players to in-depth analyses of iconic tournaments, these streaming services provide convenient access to top-quality content that celebrates the spirit and history of rugby.

Rugby fans can also explore dedicated sports channels within these streaming platforms that feature exclusive rugby content, including behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with players and coaches, as well as historical reviews of significant matches and moments in the sport’s evolution.


Rugby books and documentaries can be found at your local bookstore, providing a tangible way to immerse yourself in the stories of the sport. Whether you’re looking for an inspiring autobiography or a captivating documentary, bookstores offer a wide selection to cater to every rugby fan’s preferences.

From classic literature like “Tom Brown’s School Days” to modern award-winning titles such as “Sevens Heaven,” these stores are a treasure trove of rugby stories waiting to be discovered.

And if you prefer watching over reading, many bookstores also stock a range of top-notch rugby documentaries, allowing you to explore the emotional and compelling narratives that unfold on screen.

Rugby fan websites

To continue exploring excellent resources for rugby literature and documentaries, consider visiting rugby fan websites. These online platforms are buzzing hubs where passionate fans converge to discuss their favourite books, films, legendary players, and memorable tournaments.

You can find valuable recommendations from fellow enthusiasts, engage in lively discussions about top picks for must-reads and must-watch content, and stay updated on the latest releases in the world of rugby storytelling.

Additionally, many fan websites offer exclusive insights into upcoming publications and documentary releases, making them essential destinations for any dedicated follower of the sport.

Social media communities

Rugby fans can connect with like-minded individuals and stay updated on the latest rugby books, documentaries, and news by joining social media communities dedicated to the sport. Platforms such as Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, and Reddit threads provide a space for fans to share recommendations, discuss their favorite rugby literature and films, and engage in lively conversations about the sport.

These communities also offer a great way to discover lesser-known rugby stories that may not be in the spotlight but are highly acclaimed among enthusiasts. Whether it’s sharing personal reviews or seeking suggestions for new reads or watches, these social media spaces create an interactive environment for passionate fans to come together.

For those seeking constant inspiration from fellow rugby fanatics when it comes to discovering new content or celebrating classic favorites, these online communities play a pivotal role in shaping the collective experience of sports literature and documentaries.


Immerse yourself in the world of rugby through captivating literature and compelling documentaries. Explore the raw emotion and unforgettable stories that bring the sport to life. Discover new perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of rugby’s cultural significance.

Whether it’s on the page or on screen, these must-see recommendations are sure to leave a lasting impression on any rugby enthusiast.


1. What makes rugby books and documentaries must-see for fans?

Rugby books and documentaries are essential viewing for enthusiasts as they share thrilling stories of rugby legends, reveal insights into Rugby School Days, showcase rugby awards, and delve deep into the sport’s history and tournaments.

2. Can you recommend some top rugby documentaries and books?

Yes! Our recommended list includes a curated selection of sports documentaries and literature that captures the spirit of the game, making them top picks for any passionate fan base eager to learn more about their favorite sport.

3. Why should I watch rugby documentaries?

You should watch rugby documentaries because they offer an exclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes in the world of rugby, telling compelling stories about your beloved teams and players that you can’t find anywhere else.

4. Are there any recent must-reads or must-watches for serious rugby lovers?

Certainly! The latest releases in mustread books and mustwatch films are out now, featuring everything from historic tournament triumphs to personal tales from the biggest names in the game – perfect for die-hard fans wanting to catch up on all things related to their favourite sport.

5. What will I gain by exploring these Rugby stories on film and in books?

Exploring these top-notch narrative forms allows you not only to relive legendary matches but also provides deeper understanding of various aspects like strategy, teamwork, heritage which essentially strengthens your bond with this exhilarating sport.

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