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!
This was the breakthrough day - NZ beat Wales 19-16 in Cardiff. There's been live TV coverage of every All Black test since.
An Irishman and one of rugby’s best performed referees, in charge of 23 internationals from 1960 to 1971. Kelleher had a very successful career as a referee, but he is largely remembered for being the man who sent Colin Meads off at Murrayfield during the Scotland v New Zealand match in 1967.
Kelleher ruled that Meads’s lunging kick at a loose bouncing ball near the Scottish flyhalf, David Chisholm, was dangerous and, having previously issued a warning in the vigorous encounter, he dismissed Meads. As the New Zealander was arguably the world’s most famous player at the time, the sending-off created a storm.
Ironically, Meads and Kelleher became friends and for many years exchanged Christmas cards. Kelleher was flown to New Zealand in 1988 to appear on the TV show ‘This is Your Life – Colin Meads.’
Although New Zealanders poured scorn on Kelleher as a referee, they tended to overlook his exceptional record with the whistle. Kelleher’s first international was Wales v Scotland in 1960, and his last was France v Scotland in 1971.
Which international rugby player who went to two Rugby World Cups also won two Olympic Games Gold Medals and 2 World Championship bronze medals in a chosen 'other' sport?