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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OPINION: Wales will be sniffing an upset

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Zinzan Brooke     24 Nov 2017     Getty Images

There's definitely been plenty of chat ahead of what should definitely be a tight contest.

Before we tuck into that, it's time to put my hand up early and say that my prediction of a cricket score against Scotland was well wide off the mark!


To be fair though, I was happy for Scotland. They played really well and didn't give the All Blacks too much respect. You've got to execute your game plan and put the All Blacks under pressure and that's what exactly what they did.

In all honesty, that's what Wales need to do at Millennium Stadium this weekend.

Traditionally Wales have struggled but there are patches and glimpses of what they can produce. Here's the thing that I think separates those two Northern Hemisphere teams though - I think Scotland's head space is a bit better than Wales.

Wales are in a bit of a conundrum. They've got key injuries to Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies, and there's a bit of talk that Jamie Roberts could come back into the fold. I checked out their clash against Georgia though and they were dreadful.

But they will be sniffing an upset, especially with how the All Blacks have been faring across this end-of-year tour. This is something I've spoken at length with Sean Fitzpatrick about, when it comes to these final few Tests of the year. You can get a bit of a 'one foot on the plane, one foot on the beach' mindset, and that's particularly dangerous coming into the final game of the year.
The All Blacks need to ensure they give Wales enough respect, something I don't think we did with Scotland. When we tried to tighten the screws, Scotland were already there. When we upped our game plan, there wasn't the typical void we expected.

Although it is disappointing that Kieran Read has been ruled out through injury, it is a great chance for Sam Whitelock to fill the captaincy role. He is the All Blacks most capped lock, has been a big part of the All Blacks leadership group for a number of years and led the Crusaders to the Super Rugby title earlier this year – a pretty good grounding for an All Blacks skipper!

Defensive lines are solid these days in international rugby, but you've still got to get over the advantage line and what we need is something different. I used to invent things with my loose forwards and with Justin Marshall, because we knew going into different games with the same plan didn't work.

Here's hoping the All Blacks read this column, as Scotland quite clearly did when they saw I predicted a cricket score against them!!

I'll be there in the stands cheering the All Blacks - finish strong and know family and home time isn't too far away!