Zinzan Brooke: No worries with Jordie at 10

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We know what he can do with his boot. If there is any kicking for territory, he’ll be fine with his big punt. Jordie has got the DNA and could take a leaf out of his older brother Beauden’s book. He has experienced heads outside with Anton Lienert-Brown and inside with Aaron Smith to make his job easier. Jordie will be quite happy playing behind a pack like the one the All Blacks have named, even without Kieran Read.

 

Jordie will go fine, and he will use the ball well. I know he doesn’t have a lot of first-class experience in that position, but he has the skillset to operate effectively.

 

I am going to cross my fingers and toes that Brodie Retallick will get through unscathed for as long as he is required, which might be at least 40 minutes. I’m sure his shoulder is fine. I tell the rugby guys over here that Brodie is one and half men on the field. Tonight, we’ll just settle for one man! Get through this, and he can kick on against Italy with more minutes and then into the playoffs.

 

It looks like we’ll put our strongest combination out against Italy next weekend ahead of the quarters, so some of the fringe players will be keen to put a performance out there tonight to press their cases.

 

The All Blacks’ intentions were good in the 63-0 win against Canada. It was solid all round. Yes, we didn’t score for the last quarter, but the appetite was there. Perhaps it was a lack of cohesion with the replacements, other than Brad Weber who crossed for two fine tries. We should have put 2-3 more tries late on. But the All Blacks will be especially pleased with not allowing Canada to score.

The majority of the All Blacks played well and I would expect to see more of the same against Namibia tonight. As I said prior to the World Cup, we need to approach the pool stages as a 31, rather than just a 23, so everyone must contribute.

 

I would pick the All Blacks to win at around a point a minute and that’s no disrespect to the Namibians, but just being realistic. That’s where we need to be. We’ll have the confidence to try things and back ourselves without getting too loose.

 

*I watched the England-Argentina match last night. It wasn’t the most inspiring spectacle. If you wanted to promote rugby, you wouldn’t use that spectacle as an example. It was so boring. There was argy-bargy, as it were, and a red card to Tomas Lavanini. That’s five reds in the World Cup so far, which is not a great advertisement. That is the worst performance I have seen from Argentina for a long time.

 

England did score 39 points, but they weren’t at their best either. There just didn’t seem to be purpose to either side, with a lot of just kicking the ball away. Maybe everyone is spooked by the humidity. We’ll have to see them using spray or gloves next.

 

If France beats Tonga tonight, it looks like Les Bleus and England will top Pool C and play the Pool D leaders in the quarters.


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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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