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!
Anti-tour protests and police surrounding the ground in Christchurch made this a tough watch for the fans. But NZ beat South Africa on this day in the first test by 14-9.
Queensland, New South Wales and Australia
14 internationals for Australia 1920–32
Tommy Lawton was a stand-off half, or five-eighths, noted for the smoothness of his play, his ability to pass well and his excellent goal-kicking. A Queenslander, he moved to Sydney when rugby went into near recession in Brisbane during and after the First World War.
Lawton was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, winning three blues. He later toured Britain and France with the famous ‘Waratahs’ team – New South Wales – in 1927–28. He was a vital man in that team and scored 127 points, a record for an Australian on such a tour. Decades later the games against international teams on that tour were accorded official Wallaby test status.
In 1929 he returned to Queensland and led the re-formed Australian team against the All Blacks. Lawton was a brilliant tactician and guided Australia to a clean sweep of the three-test series. He was also captain of Australia in one test in 1930 (against Britain) and in 1932 for two tests against the All Blacks. He captained a losing test team only once.
His tally of 60 points – including points scored in the subsequently recognised ‘tests’ of the Waratahs tour – was not beaten as an Australian record until the 1960s.
Tommy Lawton died in 1978 and did not see his name carried on in Australian rugby by his grandsons, Tommy jnr and Robbie, who came into international rugby in 1988.
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?