The Grudge


Published January 2020


‘Epic’ – Simon Briggs, Daily Telegraph

‘Absolutely outstanding’ – Stephen Jones, The Times

‘Superb . . . a fantastic drama. The Grand Slam match was part of a political world . . . This is what gave the occasion its power, its glory and its ultimate significance’ – The Herald


  • Special revised and updated hardback edition published ahead of the 30th anniversary of Scottish rugby’s most famous season
  • Winner of the British Sports Book Awards’ Rugby Book of the Year, 2011
  • Short-listed for the William Hill Award, 2010
  • Movie rights optioned by the producers of The King’s Speech


About the Book:

Murrayfield, the Calcutta Cup, March 1990. England vs. Scotland – winner-takes-all for the Five Nations Grand Slam, the biggest prize in northern hemisphere rugby. Will Carling’s England are the very embodiment of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain – snarling, brutish and all-conquering. Scotland are the underdogs – second-class citizens from a land that’s become the testing ground for the most unpopular tax in living memory: Thatcher's Poll Tax. In Edinburgh, nationalism is rising high – what happens in the stadium will resound far beyond the pitch.

The Grudge brilliantly recaptures a day that has gone down in history when a rugby match became more than a game. This is the real story of an extraordinary conflict, told with astounding insight and unprecedented access to key players, coaches and supporters on both sides (Will Carling, Ian McGeechan, Brian Moore and the rest). Tom English has produced a gripping account of a titanic struggle that thrusts the reader right into the heart of the action. Game on.

Fully revised and updated, this special hardback edition is published to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Scotland’s most storied rugby season.


About the Author:

Tom English is an award-winning BBC Sport writer and broadcaster. A former Irish rugby correspondent with the Sunday Times and chief sports writer with Scotland on Sunday, he was voted Scottish Sports Feature Writer of the Year six times. He won Rugby Book of the Year at the 2011 British Sports Book Awards for The Grudge, before claiming the prize again in 2016 for No Borders: Playing Rugby for Ireland. He is a co-author of the best-selling Behind The Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions and When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Epic Tour of 1971. Follow him on Twitter: @BBCTomEnglish

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