Backs To The Wall


The epic story of how Harold Wagstaff led the Northern Union to Ashes victory in the Rorke’s Drift Test match.

Author: Bryn Woodworth



Harold Wagstaff made history in 1906 when, at the tender age of 15 he became the youngest player to play professional rugby as he made his debut for his home town team of Huddersfield. On the other side of the world the seeds of professional rugby were being sown in Australia and New Zealand as a young postal clerk from Wellington, named Albert Baskerville, embarked on an ambitious project which would eventually lead to the start of international rugby league.
Fast forward eight short years and Wagstaff will lead the best players from Northern Union on a tour of Australasia where they would battle against adversity in their quest to win the Ashes.
This is a story that had to be told. An epic story of sporting bravery as Wagstaff and his twelve comrades somehow achieve victory against all the odds
This is no normal historical account. Bryn Woodworth brings the story to life as he skilfully explores and develops the personalities of the key characters through extensive use of dialogue.
Alongside these sporting endeavours the world is drifting towards the Great War. Whilst the team are still in Australia war is declared and the team must face a perilous journey home. With German gunboats an ever-present risk the ship carrying the tourists on their journey home has to be escorted through dangerous waters by the Royal Navy.
This is a ‘must read’ for sports fans everywhere, a true-life story of sporting bravery of the highest order.


Just finished the book. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for your next. SH
• I finished your book last night, I have to say, I was gripped! Very well written and I really enjoyed it. MB
• The book was brilliant – you should be proud of it. DB
• The book was great really enjoyed the way the characters came to life, rather than the usual factual stuff. AB
• I really enjoyed the book, it was a good story line and packed full of real life events and facts. I can recommend to any Rugby fan. RS


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