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!
The great All Black Colin Meads was sent off v Scotland at Murrayfield. Did he deserve to go? All NZ says 'no!' But the ref had the final say.
Wasps, Bristol, Cornwall and England
14 internationals for England 1960–67
2 internationals for British Isles 1962
The pale-complexioned, blond-haired flyhalf who was seen as England’s and the Lions’ ready-made replacement when Bev Risman ‘went north’.
Sharp actually broke into the England team in 1960, before Lions star Risman had followed his father to rugby league, and took full advantage of the established player’s injury. He struck a swift accord with Dicky Jeeps and was considered the key to England’s Triple Crown success, kicking a critical dropped goal against Ireland, and another against Scotland.
The following season, indecisive England selectors couldn’t choose between the two talented men available, so played both, Risman at inside centre until he turned professional.
That gave Sharp an unchallenged position, for all that 1959 Lion Phil Horrocks-Taylor was still playing, but his international career was effectively to end within little more than a year. A smashing tackle early in the 1962 Lions tour of South Africa put Sharp out of action until midway through the tour, though he recovered to lead England to a championship win in 1963.
That was his international career, save for a brief return – also as captain – when England went down heavily to Australia in 1967. Sharp was not called on again.
He later became a journalist, covering rugby for the Sunday Telegraph, and was awarded the OBE in 1986.
Who was the last New Zealand Referee to control the All Blacks in an Official test match?