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Tony Abbott OURFC book

150 Years of Oxford University RFC features famous figures from sport and politics

Lord Butler, private secretary to five British Prime Ministers, and Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister have joined the plaudits for 150 Years of Oxford University RFC, the first hardback book from eric.

The unique limited-edition history book was officially launched in December with a print run of just 1,000 individually numbered hardbacks featuring the likes of rugby icons Richard Sharp, David Kirk and Nick Mallett and also those who made their names off the field, such as Lord Robin Butler, Tony Abbott and American footballer and war hero Pete Dawkins.

Lord Butler

Produced by the team behind the coffee-table title Rugby Journal, the book was published by eric and has earned praise from all quarters with Lord Butler describing it as ‘very handsomely produced…’, he added, ‘I congratulate you on it and thank you for it. For me it will be a treasured possession’.

Australia’s 28th Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who represented Oxford at rugby and boxing during his time at the university, said of the book ‘a magnificent publication and what an honour to be in it’.

With several hundred already sold, others have praised the book for breaking the mould of being a ‘traditional historical blow-by-blow’ and instead speaking to the people who were there and ‘recounting incredible life stories’.

Tony Abbott

The book talks to those on the first-ever sporting tour to post-war Japan in 1952, when Oxford were led by a man who had fought against the Japanese in southeast Asia and were hosted by a Japanese kamikaze pilot whose time never came, and the son of the Emperor.

New Zealand’s 1987 Rugby World Cup-winning captain David Kirk discusses his life at Oxford and how went back to his homeland to start a career in politics before helping negotiate Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

The niece of the late Prince Alexander Obolensky, gives her take on the Russian prince who helped beat the All Blacks; Nick Mallett explains why he left South Africa; Dudley Wood paints a vivid picture of the poor state of Twickenham when he became Secretary of the RFU; and Sue Day talks about painful Rugby World Cup final defeats.

Pete Dawkins

In total, more than thirty players, coaches and staff gave personal contributions and interviews towards the book. Also included is a complete timeline of the key moments in Oxford University RFC history and all the statistics from The Varsity Match for both men and women.
The book is available to purchase now

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