Zinzan Valentine Brooke MNZM (born Zinzan Brooke on 14 February 1965; his name was changed by deed poll) is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer who played at number eight. He has two other brothers who also played rugby at representative level: Marty, who played for Auckland and Southland; and Robin, who played lock for Auckland and New Zealand. He is regarded as one of the best rugby players of all time.
|Birth name||Zinzan Brooke|
|Date of birth||14 February 1965|
|Place of birth||Waiuku, New Zealand|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||102 kg (16 st 1 lb)|
|Notable relative(s)||Robin Brooke (brother) Gerard Beale (cousin)|
|Rugby union career|
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.
Brooke was a founding player of the Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok), playing in the inaugural side in 1994 against Taradale RFC. In 1995 he published his autobiography Zinny: The Zinzan Brooke story, written with Alex Veysey.
Brooke is considered one of the best number eights to have ever played for the All Blacks. He had the running and kicking skills of a backline player which made him extremely mobile and agile as a forward. He once kicked a 48-metre drop goal during a 1995 Rugby World Cup match, one of three he scored in test matches.
Brooke scored his third drop goal during the All Blacks' impressive 42–7 win against Wales at Wembley Stadium on 29 November 1997, giving him the rare distinction of being the only rugby player to have "scored a goal at Wembley". He also set up a try for Christian Cullen.
"For a forward his skills were outrageous. As comfortable playing sevens as 15s, he had better kicking and handling skills than some fly-halves playing international rugby. You align that with his strength and ability as a forward to read the game – he was unique".
In 1997 he retired from international rugby union and moved to England to play for Harlequins, and later coach it. During the 2002/03 season he played for Coventry in National Division One. He now plays amateur rugby union for Windsor Rugby Club in Berkshire, England.
In 2011, while back in New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Brooke was inducted into the TVNZ This Is Your Life wall of fame. His family joined him from England at the Auckland Viaduct for the live show. Special guests included his four brothers, Buck Shelford and Michael Jones.
Zinzan Brooke's unusual first name has a long history in the Brooke family, though its origins are uncertain. It has been suggested that it may be an anglicised Italian or Albanian name. The name links Brooke's family with another notable New Zealand sporting family, that of cricketer Zin Harris and his sons Chris Z. Harris and Ben Z. Harris, all of whom are distant relatives of the Brookes.
- "En 1997, ils ont raccroché: Zinzan Brooke (7 et fin). Black à part.Le Néo-Zélandais restera comme un modèle du rugby moderne. La folie en plus".
- "Mondiali, un italiano in finale"Guardarla sarà un incubo"".
- "Zinzan Brooke, mito tra gli All black "Tutto iniziò leggendo il giornale" - la storia - Repubblica.it". www.repubblica.it.
- "Zinzan to make comeback". 12 October 2001 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
- Quinn, 1999, p.35
- Quinn, 1999, p.36
- "Rampaging All Blacks Crush Wales". The Age. 1 December 1997.
- "Will Carling – My Top 50 Rugby players". The Telegraph. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- "Zinzan Brooke declared bankrupt". The New Zealand Herald. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- "Legend Brooke has brain operation". BBC SPORT. 13 July 2007.
- "Magic of Zinzan name rubs off on a singular Kiwi". 16 May 1999 – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Sir Alexander Zinzan (d. ?1607) (Berkshire) - RootsChat.Com". www.rootschat.com.