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Open Side

The Official Autobiography
Narrated by: Thomas Hunt
Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sam Warburton OBE was not only a titan of Welsh rugby but an icon of the game. Having represented his country as a player and team captain at all junior levels, he propelled himself to international attention in 2011 when named as the youngest ever captain of Wales for the Rugby World Cup. 

Despite his tender age, Sam's immense displays for club and country were recognised still further in April 2013, when, at just 24, he was named the Lions' captain for the extraordinary 2013 tour to Australia. Four years later, after a year in the wilderness, Sam was named Lions captain yet again for the historic tour to New Zealand, thereby becoming the first ever Lions Captain never to lose a series in the professional era. 

Intelligent, calm, thoughtful, in many ways seemingly the exact opposite of the smash and crash of modern rugby, Warburton's edge never came with his size but with his depth of thought, his reading of movement, and his understanding that, to be a uniquely successful leader, one needs to set goals that far exceed the ambitions of even the most ferocious of opponents. In leading other men, and in pitting himself against the world's best, Warburton was forced repeatedly to push himself to the very edge of his physiological and mental limits, the 21 significant operations over that period a painful testament to his sacrifice. 

Open Side is therefore not simply a chronology of events or a celebration of statistics. Written in a compelling but soul searching style, this is an astoundingly personal book exploring the nature of leadership, the value of self-control, the precision of mind-set and of course the future of the game. It is also a deeply personal meditation on the sacrifice of body, the torment of injury and the pain of retirement, a decision Sam was forced to make in July 2018, at just 29 years old. 

Never before has a rugby autobiography given such intimate access not only to the realities of the dressing room and the heroes and villains of the modern game but to the unique mind-set required to make someone a genuinely great leader of men. 

©2019 Sam Warburton (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A terrific book. No one put their body on the line quite like Sam Warburton." (Brian O’Driscoll)

"It was an absolute privilege to play against Sam. An inspiring leader with an equally inspiring story to tell." (Jonny Wilkinson)

"I'm so accustomed to doing these rugby/football book serialisations and most of the time am left somewhat underwhelmed. But from start to finish I feel Warburton really delivers. Really candid, takes you inside the dressing room, behind the scenes anecdotes few know about and nicely written in chatty fashion." (Head of Sport, WalesOnline)

What listeners say about Open Side

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pronunciation of player names was terrible

Interesting insight from sam but slightly let down by the fact the narrator clearly hadn’t ever watched a rugby game.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-2020

Exceptional!!

Great story, gives a lot of insight of the life of an professional rugby player!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-2019

Decent story, appalling pronounciations

The pronunciations of many names were absolutely atrocious, and sadly passages in the Welsh language were totally butchered. Embarrassing and should’ve been done better on both counts, or at least checked?!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-11-2019

A fascinating insight

A fascinating insight into the life and career of a modern-day rugby great. If you are a Wales or Lions rugby fan then this is a must-listen. It is a well-written and completely honest account of his life and career. My only gripe is with the narrator. He has a Welsh accent but it's not the Cardiff accent that Sam has. But, more importantly, it is clear that he is not a rugby fan himself as he mispronounces so many names of players, coaches and refs. He even gets some of the song titles wrong. For true rugby fans, these mistakes are glaring and it shows up again that it's not Sam narrating, unfortunately.

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  • Damien Butler
  • 21-10-2019

Bloody Amazing

I absolutely loved this book and the story it told I cannot thank Sam Warburton enough for his commitment and performances for Wales and I’d like to thank Sam Kennedy Warburton for an amazing story and allowing us a slight incline into his life.

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  • H Livingstone
  • 16-10-2019

Excellent

Loved it. Took me back to every significant match day over the past 10 years of Wales and Lions rugby from Sam's perspective. I also thoroughly enjoyed the leadership advice at the end of each chapter. It reminded me of Ant Middleton's First Man in. Highly recommended for any rugby fan.

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  • claire hagan
  • 05-09-2020

Very very good. Will listen to it agsin

Loved it. From start to finish was amazing and full on in everything he said

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  • Jonathan
  • 03-07-2020

Read the book....

As a huge rugby fan I was looking forward to this immensely; and Sam's book is the best rugby autobiography I have read. Eloquent, insightful, informative, dramatic and funny. I say 'read' deliberately. Skip the audiobook. The narrator is utterly dreadful. The first problem is that he adopts an odd style as if he is reading a children's book, which is just bizarre. Much worse, however, is the complete failure to even attempt to pronounce the names of people and places properly. He must mispronounce 70% of players' names. He clearly has no knowledge of rugby whatsoever; and couldn't be bothered to check his pronunciation was correct. What is annoying at first actually made me angry after a while. Sam's story is so good that you will spoil the experience if you opt for the audiobook over the book version. It deserves to be re-recorded by someone who can give this fascinating book the respectful and informed performance it deserves.

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  • Anthony Buncher
  • 27-06-2020

Boring

I’m so sorry Sam, I am a great admirer of your rugby career and respect you greatly. However, this book fails to engage me. The majority of the book is simply a re-run of past matches and didn’t even give me a better understanding of those. The best part of the book was the Epilogue when I gained a better insight of the man, Sam Warburton. This final section was interesting and engaging.

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  • Don Logan
  • 25-05-2020

Didn't bother to check pronunciations beforehand.

Why go to all that trouble of hiring a fine actor and a studio etc and not spend under 5 minutes to check how people's and clubs names are pronounced? it's embarrassing. More for you than me, but I am still embarrassed for you. Beautifully read apart from that. Israel Foe Low???!

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  • himynameisneil
  • 05-03-2020

Warby, we miss you

A real insight into the Lions Captains world. A look into his mindset and training and his views on various incidents from his career, (yes that red card) Incredible story. Sam, I tip my hat to you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-02-2020

Brilliant!

An insightful book on leadership, sacrifes and demands on the modern test rugby player. Loved it!