Spirits were high last month (24 March 2019) as former New Zealand All Black, Zinzan Brooke, dropped into a sunny East Grinstead Rugby Football Club (EGRFC).
EGRFC U11’s had the great fortune of Zinzan joining their squad to support their training session. The young players were put through their paces and imparted words of advice and guidance as to the technical aspects of the game.
Stephen Rhodes, Under 11’s Head Coach, EGRFC said: “We had a fantastic training session together with Zinzan. Having the presence and insight of a legendary New Zealand All Black is something we are all going to treasure. What an inspiration for all of our players and coaches. We cannot thank him enough for his support, contribution and generosity - it was brilliant."
Training encompassed passing, handling, attacking, defending, rucking and kicking drills, finished with a friendly but determined match refereed by the man himself!
Kelly Turner, Girls Coach, EGRFC said: “Last Sunday was an incredible experience for all the girls involved. His attendance was a wonderful surprise for many, and we watched, with big smiles on our faces, as he shared his knowledge and expertise to a very captive and enthusiastic audience.”
After the sessions, Zinzan joined members at the Club House for a well-deserved drink and many children (and adults) went away with his autograph. He also kindly signed a rugby ball, and water bottle which will be auctioned at the forthcoming Blue Cube Security Sunshine Sevens tournament on Sunday 28 April 2019.
As one of the most skilful forwards to have pulled on the famous All Black jersey, Zinzan Brooke possessed the flair and ability of a back, and combined this with the raw toughness and durability of an uncompromising back row specialist. How many forwards are best remembered for kicking a drop-goal? Not many, but the extraordinary kick Zinzan Brooke slotted from almost 50m out during New Zealand’s 1995 World Cup semi-final win over England left an indelible imprint on the memory of anyone who saw it.
Zinzan is a well-known figure to the older generation but now he has a new-young following! EGRFC were so grateful and delighted with the illuminating impact Zinzan made on the day.
Zinzan Brooke is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played at number eight.
In 1997 Zinzan Brooke retired from international rugby union and moved to England to play for Harlequins, and later coach it. Brooke played 58 tests for New Zealand, and 42 non-international matches for the All Blacks, captained Auckland Blues to Super 12 championships in 1996 and 1997 and was an influential figure in Auckland's dominance in the National Provincial Championship during the late 1980s and 1990s. He scored 17 tries in test matches, then a world record for a forward. He also played for New Zealand Māori.
‘Young EGRFC Legends’ - Under 11’s & Zinzan Brooke
Photo Credit @ Trudi Gwynn
Media enquiries: Milly O’Ryan, EGRFC, 01342 322338 - firstname.lastname@example.org www.egrfc.com
Updated 23:58 - 18 Apr 2019 by Milly O'Ryan-Bristow