Zinzan Brooke

New Zealand All Blacks

Zinzan Brooke was one of the most skilful forwards to have pulled on the famous All Black jersey. He possessed the flair and ability of a back, and combined this with the raw toughness and durability of an uncompromising back row specialist. Brought up on a dairy farm in North Auckland with four brothers and one sister, Zinzan has always been nothing but ultra competitive, with an innate desire to win.

A talent that was spotted at junior level, he was selected to play for the national colts team, but it was while representing the New Zealand Sevens side in 1987, that he established himself as a standout player.

Whilst he was out working on a construction site the call came to attend an All Black trial. The Mahurangi College student was selected for the 1987 world cup squad and played in the pool match against Argentina at the age of 22, scoring the first of his 41 tries for the All Blacks. New Zealand went on to win this first ever world cup tournament, a feat that no All Black team has repeated since, so Zinzan is part of an extremely elite bunch.

Zinzan went on to play in the 1991 and 1995 World cups. It was in the 95 competition semi-final that the audacious Zinzan dropped a 47m drop goal, which is simply something that forwards don’t do, but he was no ordinary player. By the time Zinzan had played his last Test for the All Blacks in December 1997 against England at Twickenham aged 32, he had played a total of 100 matches for the All Blacks, captaining the team on 5 occasions scoring an impressive 195 points.

After this last match, Zinzan moved on from his NZ team, the Auckland Blues (who he had led to two title wins) and signed a contract with Harlequins first as a player and then as a coach.

On retiring from rugby, the entrepreneurial Zinzan now runs a successful recruitment and construction business along with a bed and breakfast in Windsor, Berkshire. An international captain, a genuine rugby hero, a business man and an all round nice guy, Zinzan most definitely has stories, insight, knowledge and opinion to share with an audience.