Ireland may be a powerhouse in international rugby in 2015, with its club teams of Leinster, Munster and Ulster perennially performing brilliantly in Europe, but to many people of a certain age the late 1970s and early 1980s were a golden period, too. Even though the sport was thrillingly amateurish in spirit as well as organisation, their most famous club win, arguably, was a thrilling performance from a Munster team led by Tony Ward who defeated the mighty All Blacks in 1979 at Thormond Park - ranked as a classic and still the only time an Irish team have beaten the Kiwis. Ireland would then enjoy their first Triple Crown success for thirty-three years in 1982 with Ward jostling with the other great Irish fly-half, Ollie Campbell, to lead the team. Ward was a mercurial talent. Much like the maligned Danny Cipriani today, his self-belief and unique way of playing the game he wanted his team to, marked him out as a rare talent. In the days of limited internationals, and few far-flung tours, he would only amass nineteen caps for his country, as well as single a tour of South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 1980. Although the Lions lost the series 1-4, Ward would set the record for a Lion, scoring 18 points in a Test, which still stands today.
He will now tell his story, of the triumphs and disappointments, as well as the great friendships he made, and greatest matches he played in. He will equally be forthright in what he thinks of the game today, and how Ireland will fair in the Rugby World Cup and beyond to the Six Nations in 2016. For any fan of Irish rugby, at whatever level you play, this is an elegiac memoir to cherish.
Anthony Joseph Patrick Ward (Tony) was born in Dublin and played for Ireland in the 1970s and 80s. He also played club rugby for the two pillars of Irish club rugby - Munster, and, Leinster, as well as being chosen for the British and Irish Lions, and the iconic Barbarians. He is today a well-respected coach of St Gerards School in Bray, as well as a regular radio commentator for RTE, and writer for the Irish Independent.