All Blacks legend Zinzan Brooke visits Greystones
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.