With the 2017 Rugby League World Cup just a fortnight away, we review Their Finest Hour – A History Of The Rugby League World Cup In 10 Matches, the first book from Commentary Box Sports contributor ANDREW MARMONT.
The Rugby League World Cup has perennially been viewed as a poor cousin to its football and rugby union counterparts (despite pre-dating the latter by 33 years), largely due to the constantly changing formats, lack of continuity timeframe-wise and the shortage of competing nations and genuine title contenders.
But that doesn’t mean the RLWC has not been blessed with some of the greatest games in the code’s history, while each tournament has produced storylines that have become embedded in rugby league folklore.
The World Cup has been generally overlooked as a topic in rugby league literature, which makes Andrew Marmont’s excellent debut book Their Finest Hour a timely and welcome release.
Billed as ‘A History Of The Rugby League World Cup In 10 Matches’, The Finest Hour covers the most memorable matches in the tournament’s history – and the background to them – in fascinating detail, but it also provides a comprehensive overview of each competition.
From the genesis of the World Cup in 1954, to the memorable Australia-Great Britain finals of the 1960s and ’70s, the elongated competitions of the late-1980s and early 1990s that culiminated in memorable finals in Auckland and London, the green-and-golds’ continued dominance and unforgettable semi-finals involving New Zealand in 1995 and 2013, and the Kiwis’ Wayne Bennett-assisted boilover in the 2008 decider, Marmont brings a long underrated tournament to life in Their Finest Hour.
As well as featuring a foreword from Bennett, Marmont has interviewed some of the game’s great characters for Their Finest Hour, including Wally Lewis, Dean Bell, Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Stuart, Frank Endacott and Clive Griffiths.
Their Finest Hour is an essential addition to the library of any rugby league or sports history buff, but every fan of the 13-a-side game will enjoy the classic tales Marmont tells within – it’s the perfect primer for what shapes as the biggest Rugby League World Cup to date.
Their Finest Hour is available at all good bookstores in Australia, New Zealand and England through HarperCollins Publishers.