Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 13
- Grade: 3
- Reading age: 8 to 9
Sam's grandfather, Pops, always taught Sam that the most important aspects of rugby are sportsmanship and teamwork. Things are not great at home, with Pops having Alzheimer's and Sam's mother trying to make ends meet, but Sam's struggles really begin when his school is shut down and he transfers to Rosedale Heights. Sam feels like he's alone against the world trying to prove himself — and failing. He has trouble fitting in with the snobby Rosedale team, especially Bittner, who resents Sam's presence. In an act of retaliation, Sam breaks a teammate's nose, and he knows he's lost sight of what rugby is supposed to be about. When Sam scores the winning try in a game, he wonders if it was for his own glory or for the team. All seems lost when, set up by Bittner, Sam gets kicked off the team under suspicion of stealing. Can Sam prove his innocence and get back in play for the highly anticipated England game? And can he play the kind of rugby that will make Pops proud?
About the author
MIKE LEVITT has played, coached and refereed high-school rugby. He wrote the curriculum for his school district's grade 11 rugby course, had a newspaper column in the Williams Lake Tribune, has had short stories published in British Columbia Magazine and is the author of the Lorimer Sports Stories novel Rugby Rivals. Mike works as a mental health clinician with the Lillooet Tribal Council. He lives in Kamloops, BC.
- Nominated, Chocolate Lily Book Awards, Novel Category
- Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection
"Rugby fans will most appreciate the in-depth descriptions of the hard physicality of the sport and its ideal muddy settings."
"... the in-depth game play will attract sports fans."
School Library Journal