All Blacks leg­end Zin­zan Brooke vis­its Grey­stones

Bray People - - Sport -

GREY­STONES R.F.C. were de­lighted when Zin­zan Brooke, a true All Black leg­end ac­cepted their in­vi­ta­tion to visit them last week­end as a guest of club Pres­i­dent Peter But­ler.

He played golf on Fri­day in Grey­stones Golf Club as a vis­i­tor in the Grey­stones R.F.C. Golf So­ci­ety and on Satur­day prior to the Thomond game he was a guest at a packed lunch.

In his in­tro­duc­tion to their guests, the Grey­stones Pres­i­dent Peter But­ler, gave a brief his­tory of him with as usual touch­ing on his re­mark­able drop goal in the 1995 World Cup, ‘a drop goal of 46 me­tres’. ‘It was ac­tu­ally 47’, Zin­zan cor­rected, to the de­light of the large au­di­ence ‘no doubt it will go up year by year’, quipped some­body from the back.

He also men­tioned that prior to his All Black ca­reer he played Gaelic Foot­ball for The Auck­land Gaels af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced to it by for­mer All Black Bernie McCahill and on mov­ing to Lon­don af­ter his in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment, he played for St. Bren­dan’s G.A.A. Club.

He gave an in­sight to the prepa­ra­tion of an All Black team be­fore each game, in which a fact sheet of pre­vi­ous games against that op­po­si­tion with high­lights of each player they would be up against and in par­tic­u­lar how well or in­deed how bad he had played pre­vi­ously.

He talked about the Au­tumn In­ter­na­tion­als and was par­tic­u­larly praise­wor­thy of Mun­ster ex­ploits in Thomond al­though nat­u­rally de­lighted that the Blacks had pre­vailed.

Af­ter his speech, Peter handed over the mi­cro­phone to Zin­zan who re­galed with many sto­ries of his All Black ca­reer be­fore ask­ing for the au­di­ence if there were any ques­tions.

Pre­dictably the first ques­tion came from a South African at the lunch, in which he asked, ‘Were the Blacks “nob­bled” be­fore the Fi­nal.’ He an­swered yes to that and elab­o­rated that they al­ways brought their own chef who pre­pared their meals and they also ate with who­ever was also in the ho­tel and in­vited any­body present to share in their food, which was spe­cial with the right mix­ture of pro­tein and carbs. etc.

He be­lieves that the nob­bling was done with the wa­ter con­tain­ers, which were laced.

The sec­ond ques­tion asked what was his best mo­ment in life, he said it was meet­ing his wife (who was present at the lunch) this nat­u­rally drew ahhs, mainly from the fe­male guests but when asked about his best rugby mo­ment he had no hes­i­ta­tion.

‘When I was first told I was go­ing to be asked to join the All Blacks’.

‘It came about when a cou­ple of back row play­ers were in­jured prior to the World Cup and on that day I was fix­ing a roof on a house when my boss came up to me and shouted , come down Zinny, there was a call from the All Blacks for you to re­port to the train­ing ground’.

‘My re­ply was “Are you hav­ing a jest with me” (not his ex­act words!)

He went on: ‘As I sat at the ta­ble with all the other po­ten­tial fu­ture All Blacks I was over the moon when my name was called and a few min­utes later I qui­etly walked out a door and on to a street where I gave an almighty roar, walk­ing back in qui­etly and re­sum­ing my place at a ta­ble’.

One other au­di­ence mem­ber asked him to per­form the Haka, but he de­clined, how­ever he said that the first time he was asked to do it in an in­ter­na­tional as a 21year-old, he ob­vi­ously had to do it from the front and was a lit­tle wor­ried that he was do­ing it cor­rectly.

In his in­tro­duc­tion, Peter But­ler had men­tioned that in a re­cent poll he was named as the sec­ond best No. 8 of all time be­hind Mervyn ‘Merv The Swerve’ Davis.

The fi­nal ques­tion from the gath­er­ing was if he, Zin­zan, was the best, then who would be sec­ond best, his re­ply was that Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford was not only the best but was also one, if not of the best cap­tains as well, a sup­ple­men­tary ques­tion asked was

‘In the North­ern Hemi­sphere who was the best No. 8 he had played against’.

‘Never met the man - next ques­tion,’ he replied with a smile.

Af­ter the game he pre­sented the Man of The Match Award to Grey­stones cen­tre, Ste­vie Meyer and spent most of the evening meet­ing and talk­ing to pretty much ev­ery­body who was present, all in all a great day and a most pleas­ant in­di­vid­ual.

Kevin Kiely, Pres­i­dent Thomond RFC, with Zin­zan Brooke and Peter But­ler, Pres­i­dent Grey­stones RFC, at the lunch prior to the Grey­stones v. Thomond AIL game.

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