Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
13 May 2016
Maybe 15 years ago, shortly after the great Zinzan Brooke retired from test rugby he did a series of rugby luncheons and dinners around New Zealand. They were sponsored by Ronald McDonald House and at them Zinny regailed the audiences in fine style with his many stories, yarns and rugby tour memories. One of his best memories was how he originally was named Zinzan Valentine Brooke by his family; then later he became known just by the shortened 'Zinzan Brooke' and later still when a great national presence grew in recognition of his enormous All Black talent he was known by young and old by gthe very friendly 'Zinny.'
I was the MC at the Wellington luncheon and I leaned across at one point and asked Zinzan to please sign the menu for my son. (Of course I knew damn well it was for me actually) The great man obliged with all three signatures of the unique 'naming' story he had just told the crowd.
I liked this - as a record of Zinny's quirky manner. And I wonder if it is a rare piece indeed - not worth much in monetary terms but in rugby terms - priceless!
Little did the baby Jonah Lomu or his parents know that 19 years and 45 days later he would be playing for the All Blacks in a test match!
This match idea, perhaps for annual playing in the three non-World Cup years, between teams from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere countries, was mooted first in 1999. The fixture, though originally thought to be a good one, had a checkered history in attaining an identity and a date on which to be played. The planned first game, heavily endorsed by the IRB, was originally set down for November 2002 at Cardiff though the venue was later changed to Twickenham.
The game was finally postponed in 2002 without having been played. Though the major nations of the world officially endorsed the principle of the game much informal quibbling emerged about its merit and placement.
The idea resurfaced in 2004 as a fundraiser to assist the United Nations World Food programme to support its work aiding victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres played at Twickenham in London in May 2005. The final score was Northern Hemisphere 19 – 54 Southern Hemisphere.
[A privately organised game between Northern and Southern Hemisphere teams had earlier been played in Hong Kong in March 1991. The Northern Hemisphere team, captained by Gary Whetton of New Zealand beat the Southern Hemisphere, led by Gavin Hastings of Scotland by 39-4]
After the finish of the 2011 Rugby World Cup who were the youngest and oldest players from all countries to win a World Cup medal 1987-2011?