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Henson book accused of ‘spearing’ O’Driscoll book off shelf

henson bookMore controversy over Henson and O’Driscoll books

A copy of Brian O’Driscoll’s book A Year in the Centre has been allegedly thrown off a bookshelf by the book of Welsh centre Gavin Henson. In a manner strikingly similar to the fate suffered by the Irishman in his ill-fated first test for the Lions last summer, O’Driscoll’s book was seemingly unceremoniously upended and driven off the shelf, damaging itself as it hit the ground.

It appears the books may be carrying on a rivalry allegedly felt between the two authors. The two players, both stars in their respective country, played out a titanic struggle during their encounter in Cardiff in the 2005 Six Nations and Henson alleged in his book that O’Driscoll called him a ‘f****** w******’ during the game.

The incident is the latest controversy surrounding the pair’s books. Henson, currently serving a ban for striking an opponent with an elbow in a European Cup match, was hauled up before the management of the WRU and made to apologise to teammates after his best-selling book appeared to criticise fellow players and coaches. Similarly, O’Driscoll’s book was seen as needlessly stirring up old wounds regarding the infamous ‘spear tackle’ in the first test against the New Zealand All Blacks – an incident which ended the captain’s tour and led to fierce criticism of All Black captain Tana Umaga. .

John Robbins, the owner of the two books involved in the incident, was keen for the case to be looked at closely and investigated: ‘It’s disappointing, I’ve saved up for a while for these books - I’m quite a big collector of rugby titles - and just 45 minutes after I bought the new O’Driscoll book I find it laying on the floor with its spine damaged and cover creased. It also knocked over a cup of black coffee I had on my desk and half the pages are stuck together and ruined.’

It is unclear if any forthcoming investigation would be held by the IRB or by representatives of the publishing industry.

‘This issue won’t be brushed under the carpet,’ fumed Robbins. ‘I’m planning to hold a press conference on the event later this evening. Then another one on Monday and another on Wednesday. I’m going to go on and on about this until something is done.’

Neither of the publishers of the titles, Penguin or HarperCollins, were prepared to comment on the incident. However, insiders in the industry have claimed that the incident could in fact lead to another controversial book. ‘I think we could get a quick two-hundred page book out about the fallout from this latest ‘spearing’ incident,’ claimed a spokesperson for Smith and Jones book publishers. ‘There were certainly be a bestseller in this, you can take that as read.’

Meanwhile, John Robbins has furiously denied accusations from his girlfriend, Julia Casey, that he was using the incident to cover over his failure to tidy the flat properly and do his household chores.

‘It’s all very well going out about this one little incident,’ said Casey, ‘but he had all weekend to clean the flat and all he has done is watch rugby, drink beer and go out shopping for new books. That cup of coffee the book knocked over had been there for three days. I bet he didn’t mention that to you, did he?’