There is no game on earth quite like rugby: steeped in tradition and supported with fervour, at its best it is a heady mix of brutal physical confrontation, terrifying tackles, deft handling skills, searing pace, pinpoint kicking and a gentlemanly handshake at the end of an action-packed 80 minutes.
The game has come a long way since the apocryphal moment in 1823 when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up a ball and run with it on the playing fields of Rugby School.
By 2011, and the seventh edition of the IRB Rugby World Cup, it had become one of the most contested and popular sports on the planet. "World Rugby Records 2012" is a unique celebration of rugby excellence, featuring not only a host of records from teams and tournaments around the world (in all the game's formats), but also the stories behind them and a series of potted biographies on some of the greatest players ever to have played the game.
Whether you are an armchair fan or a Twickenham, Murrayfield or Millennium Stadium regular, it is essential reading for any student of the game.