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!
I cannot believe it was so long ago! But right from a VERY young age at Benneydale and Berhampore in New Zealand I knew I wanted to write and talk about rugby - and I've been doing it all my life. (And many more to come I hope!)
Otago, South Canterbury, Southland, Canterbury and New Zealand
3 internationals for New Zealand 1938
A successful All Black manager, coach and theoriser of the game, who wrote a very useful coaching manual, and a fine halfback whose career was cut short by World War II.
Charlie Saxton’s greater claim to fame was as captain of one of the most respected New Zealand rugby sides. Post-war blues were lifted throughout the British Isles and Europe by the sparkling play of the ‘Kiwis’ – a side chosen from New Zealand servicemen.
Captain of the side, and then 32, Saxton lost nothing by comparison with the talented young men joining him, 16 of them going on to become All Blacks. The side won 32 of its 38 matches in a five-month tour, the Saxton dive pass setting off his backs on many a thrilling movement.
He was an outstanding All Blacks manager in 1967 and a life member of the NZRFU.
Who was the last New Zealand Referee to control the All Blacks in an Official test match?