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!
Bob Barber ended his time with the All Blacks in Australia and Fiji; in his last four starting games he was no.8, flanker, lock and prop.
Bagnères and France
39 internationals for France 1971–80
A soccer player until he was 17, Aguirre gained his ﬁrst international caps for France as a scrumhalf in 1971. A season later he changed to fullback and took to the role so readily that he was chosen to play for France in his new position against the All Blacks in early 1973. Injury kept him out of that game but shortly afterwards he coped so well at fullback against Wales that he became the replacement France had been seeking for Pierre Villepreux. He was rarely out of favour for the next six years.
A stylish attacker, Aguirre could also kick goals effectively. He landed six for France in the second test against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1977, three of them from near halfway. Aguirre also landed a massive 65-metre kick on Wellington’s Athletic Park in 1979. Yet it is as a brilliantly versatile runner that he is remembered. He played a major part in France’s 24–19 win over New Zealand in 1979 – the famous ‘Bastille Day’ victory.
Aguirre later became a radio broadcaster on the game.
How many players of Samoan-birth or Samoan heritage have captained the All Blacks in tests? Name them.