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!
Today, on this day the Springboks were welcomed back into World Rugby
11 years to the day after the last NZ v SA game they are back! But the ABs win in a Johannesburg thriller by 27-24.
Elected president of the French Rugby Federation in 1968, Albert Ferrasse of Agen built for himself the formidable reputation of being the most powerful administrator in French rugby.
Born in 1917, Ferrasse played at lock in the Agen team which won the national club championship of France in 1945. Later he made the reserves for the French XV. After his playing days were over, he took to refereeing with considerable success, refereeing the French club final of 1959.
Under his guidance France was admitted to the International Rugby Board in 1978. Ferrasse, very pro-British in his outlook, also fought sternly to allow South Africa to maintain its place in world rugby. Through France’s association with FIRA, he kept a weather eye on the emerging countries of European rugby.
Well known for taking a strong stance on rough play in rugby, ‘Tonton Albert’ (Uncle Albert) Ferrasse also introduced the rigid club transfer rules in France. Outsiders asked about the apparent ‘liberal’ attitude in France towards the amateur spirit of the game, but Ferrasse repeatedly claimed he investigated any complaints of the amateur spirit and could find few, if any, breaches. Talk is one thing, proof is another, he said, when questioned about reported professionalism in French club rugby. He was also once quoted as saying that ‘it is quite an achievement that rugby still resists the aggression of money’.
The authoritative reign of Ferrasse ended after 23 years in December 1991 when he resigned. After a prolonged backstage battle, Bernard Lapasset was elected in his place as the new president of the French Rugby Federation. Lapasset of course, went on to become Chairmain of the International Rugby Board.
What age was Gareth Edwards when he became the world’s youngest test captain?