Zinzan Brooke

Brooke played for the All Blacks between 1987 and 1997, playing 58 tests and 42 matches. Across the 100 matches, Brooke scored 195 points, made up of 42 tries and three drop goals. He is considered one of the best number eights to have ever played for the All Blacks with running and kicking skills of a back along with the strength and mobility of a great loose forward.

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Zinzan Brooke: Lions to fight fire with fire

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Zinzan Brooke     30 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Ben Te’o, a guy who I thought was man of the match in the first 55 minutes of the first Test, has been dropped for Owen Farrell. Sam Warburton’s back in the starting side too but I would’ve picked the outstanding CJ Stander there instead. 


A couple of surprise picks either way that make me realise they’re changing their tempo. The aerial bombs didn’t work, and so they’re going to fight fire with fire and try to catch the All Blacks backline off guard.

That’s all good and well but you still need to take your chances, and that’s something the Lions didn’t do in that first Test. Northern Hemisphere crowds have been praising them for creating chances, but starting them and not capitalising is about as useful as ironing your shirt and leaving it at home.

I’ve mentioned this before – you need to convert those chances against what turned out to be a clinical All Blacks team. The Lions probably had a good five tryscoring opportunities, and converted two. The All Blacks, on the other hand, also had even less chances and capitalised on three of them.

The first thing the Lions have to try and figure out to level the series is to deal to the pace of the game. I don’t think the Lions have experienced that sort of ferocity before against an All Blacks side that delivered a workman-like performance. While it was a solid effort from the hosts it was also a calculated one that saw them capitalise on a tiring side. The Hurricanes also came home with a wet sail to earn a draw against a tiring touring team so it’s something they’ll be desperate to learn from.

They will be full of confidence though with what will go down as one of the greatest Lions tries in history. Anthony Watson’s break also proved the hosts can be shakey, but they need to be more composed under pressure. They need to stop with the Hail Mary magic passes and just recycle the ball quicker from the breakdown.

The good news for the All Blacks is they don’t really need to do anything spectacularly differently. They’ve gone for a relatively settled side with a forward pack that really dictated the breakdown and with Aaron Smith whose accuracy and precision was phenomenal once again.

I was a pretty proud man watching the boys in black 12,000 miles away in England, and I’m fizzing about Saturday’s game already!