Blue Blood - The Bernard Jackman Autobiography
The inside story of Leinster in the Cheika years
Bernard Jackman offers, for the first time, a brutally honest portrait of the Leinster dressing-room, and reveals the tyrannical, maddening ways of the team's Australian Heineken Cup winning coach, Michael Cheika. Also, contained within 'Blue Blood' is an unforgettable, fly-on-the-wall diary of Leinster's brave, but doomed attempt to retain their Heineken Cup title in the 2009/10 season.
So often in professional sport we get the iceberg view of things, and plough ahead without knowing what's really under the surface. Jackman's book illustrates that it's possible to produce a successful rugby team where the coach is barely on speaking terms with one of his key players.
Brendan Fanning, Sunday Independent
The central theme of Blue Blood is Leinster's doomed attempt - led by Head Coach Michael Cheika, and Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll - to retain the Heineken Cup title in 2010. Included in the storyline is:
The brutality of Rugby:
- Michael Cheika's refusal to allow Bernard Jackman retire from the Leinster team in April 2010, even though he had not been offered a new contract due to failed medical examinations
- Bernard Jackman's revelation that he was concussed 20 times in the last 3 years of his career with Leinster - including 8 times in his final season. If a player is concussed 3 times in one season he is supposed to 'stand down' for the remainder of the year!
- After one head trauma, Bernard spent 3 weeks recovering in his bedroom, with windows blacked out.
- In the final years of his career, such was the damage to Bernard's knees (during the team's successful Heineken Cup win in 2009) that he would have to negotiate the way down the stairs of his own house on his backside, 13 steps, 13 thuds.
- Further revelations of the physical battering professional rugby players receive and how they 'beat the medical systems' in order to avoid reporting concussions and head trauma
- Insight to physical nature of training sessions - story of how Paul O'Connell thumped his team-mate and thought he had killed him. Also other descriptions of physical side of the game, including Tony Buckley's punch on teammate Denis Leamy which left Leamy concussed and in spasm on the ground (Leamy still played for Ireland that same week)
The characters in the Leinster and Irish dressing-room:
- Insight to team characters - including South Sea Islander Stan Wright, who won fame in the dressing-room for explaining to his team-mates how he barbecued and ate his own dog, Toby
- Insight to team characters - including Ireland stars Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney
- More stories of team-mates - the English international who bought his giant-sized bed from IKEA and built it in his sitting-room; and the Irish international who used to try to boil potatoes in a kettle
- Insights on the coaches whom Bernard Jackman has played for - including Irish coach Declan Kidney, former Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan, Brent Pope, Warren Gatland, and Michael Bradley.
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