A game for gentlemen that sprang from a blatant piece of cheating, rugby has a short but impressive pedigree and is more popular and exciting than it has ever been. This contradictory game has also spawned a wealth of anecdote and legend. Its rich body of literature can now be sampled in Godfrey Smith's lively anthology, which has a composition as varied as a top-class rugby XV; a meaty front row of slices of rugby history, rugby lore and heroes past and present; deft touches from such mercurial contributors as Michael Green and Frank Keating; fictional feats from Buchan, Wodehouse and many others; and dramatic and thrilling real-life accounts of flowing threequarter movements and magical touchdowns. Here we recapture some of the greatest movements the game has known, including tries by Prince Alexander Obolensky, Peter Jackson and David Duckham, and the famous equalizing try that the All Blacks just failed to score - or did they? - against Wales in 1905. There is controversy galore, as well as much romance, bawdiness and laughter, occasional tragedy, even the odd piece of villainy. Among the wealth of autobiography is an engaging piece by Richard Burton, who wishes he had played one game less - his last appearance was against a team of embittered Welsh miners who, sceptical about a notice the actor had received for his rugby, had decided to see what he was made of. There is a broad Welsh seam running through these pages, including pieces on Gareth Edwards and Barry John, pieces by and about the great Carwyn James, and a revealing dialogue between Gerald Davies and John Morgan - from the sublime, one might almost say, to Max Boyce. The Scots and Irish are also well represented, as are the All Blacks, the Springboks, the Australians and the ever entertaining French. This feast of rugby ends, inevitably, with a day of glory at Twickenham, including probably the most exquisite try ever seen there - by Saint-Andre, courtesy of Camberabero - in the heroic but vain French effort to thwart England's 1991 Grand Slam triumph. "Take the Ball and Run" is illustrated with a gallery of photographs of Godfrey Smith's personal All-time Best XV.