Zinzan Brooke

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Zinzan Valentine Brooke
Full name Murray Zinzan Brooke
Date of birth (1965-02-14) 14 February 1965 (age 49)
Place of birth Waiuku, New Zealand
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 102 kg (16 st 1 lb)
School Mahurangi College
Notable relative(s) Robin Brooke (brother)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Number 8 or flanker
New Zealand No. 883
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1997–2001 Harlequins
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1986–97 Auckland    
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1996–97 Auckland Blues
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1987–97  New Zealand 58 (89)

Zinzan Valentine Brooke MNZM (born Murray Zinzan Brooke on 14 February 1965; changed name by deed poll[1]) is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played at number eight. He has two other brothers who also played rugby at representative level: Marty, who played for Auckland and Southland; and Robin, who played lock for Auckland and New Zealand.

Career[edit]

Brooke played 58 tests for New Zealand, and 42 non-international matches for the All Blacks, captained Auckland Blues to Super 12 championships in 1996 and 1997 and was an influential figure in Auckland's dominance in the National Provincial Championship during the late 1980s and 1990s. He scored 17 tries in Test matches, then a world record for a forward. He also played for New Zealand Māori.

Brooke was a founding player of the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok), playing in the inaugural side in 1994 against Taradale RFC. In 1995 he published his autobiography Zinny: The Zinzan Brooke story, written with Alex Veysey.

Brooke is considered one of the best number eights to have ever played for the All Blacks. He had the running and kicking skills of a backline player which made him extremely mobile and agile as a forward. He once kicked a 47-metre drop goal during a 1995 Rugby World Cup match, one of three he scored in Test matches.

Brooke scored his third drop goal during the All Blacks' impressive 42–7 win against Wales at Wembley Stadium on 29 November 1997, giving him the rare distinction of being the only rugby player to have "scored a goal at Wembley".[2] He also set up a try for Christian Cullen.[3]

In 2007, former England centre and captain Will Carling published his list of the '50 Greatest Rugby players' in The Daily Telegraph, and ranked Brooke the eighth greatest player of all time, stating:

"For a forward his skills were outrageous. As comfortable playing sevens as 15s, he had better kicking and handling skills than some fly-halves playing international rugby. You align that with his strength and ability as a forward to read the game – he was unique".[4]

Retirement[edit]

In 1997 he retired from international rugby union and moved to England to play for Harlequins, and later coach it. During the 2002/03 season he played for Coventry in National Division One. He now plays amateur rugby union for Windsor Rugby Club in Berkshire, England.

Brooke runs Frances Lodge, a boutique bed and breakfast in Windsor, Berkshire with his wife.

In 2011, while back in New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Brooke was inducted into the TVNZ This Is Your Life wall of fame. His family joined him from England at the Auckland Viaduct for the live show. Special guests included his four brothers, Buck Shelford and Michael Jones.

Accident[edit]

Brooke suffered head trauma in May 2007 while falling out of a taxi in the Spanish town of Elche, though the circumstances are unclear.[5]

Other sports[edit]

As well as rugby union, Brooke played Gaelic football, both before and after his rugby career.[citation needed] Initially he was introduced to the game by fellow All Black Bernie McCahill at Auckland Gaels Gaelic Football Club.[citation needed] While living in London after his career he also turned out for St. Brendan's of London.[citation needed]

It was widely reported that he signed a contract to play rugby league for Graham Lowe's Manly club in the early 1990s, but subsequently changed his mind and stayed with rugby union.[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Quinn, Keith (1999). A Century of Rugby Greats. Auckland: Celebrity Books. ISBN 0-9583729-8-5. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quinn, 1999, p.35
  2. ^ Quinn, 1999, p.36
  3. ^ "Rampaging All Blacks Crush Wales". The Age. 1 December 1997. 
  4. ^ "Will Carling – My Top 50 Rugby players". The Telegraph. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Legend Brooke has brain operation". BBC SPORT. 13 July 2007. 

External links[edit]