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Zinzan Brooke

Brooke played for the All Blacks between 1987 and 1997, playing 58 tests and scoring 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: Who is going to be left out?

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Zinzan Brooke     17 Apr 2017     Getty Images

It's a nervous time for a lot of the players from the home nations. All the teams have fared very well and obviously England have picked up a few wins over the teams across the board, but Eddie Jones has done a great job with them. 

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They sort-of stumbled through it but they managed to claw out victories. Prior to that they had a bit of domination because they went to Australia and beat them 3-zip, and that's a big deal.

That set the wheels in motion that England were going to be dominating selection process for the Lions because it was only six months away. With Ireland spoiling the English party at the backend of the Six Nations, you can see that Warren Gatland has got a difficult situation about who's going to be left out.

There won't be a shortage of players, but it's going to be interesting to see how it unfolds. I've described the New Zealand programme as a bit of a hospital tour, especially on the back of a long season. They'll need to stay very tight as a group and a team, so the manager needs to keep them strong and the leaders need to back up and deliver.

Speaking of leaders, there are a few names to throw in the mix to captain the Lions: Dylan Hartley, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, and Owen Farrell. Owen is a young player, but I think he's senior enough and he's been around the traps. There was a lot of pressure on Sam Warburton and taking the captaincy off him has helped him with his performance.

That said, you can guarantee there will be a couple of selection surprises. Scotland, Ireland and Wales have been playing well, and on the back of England winning the Six Nations but stumbling at the final hurdle, Warren Gatland has some questions about the team's core players.

I know a lot of these players vying for spots in the Lions. I've seen them live. They're good guys, they're very competitive and they want to create history. It's not going to be an easy ride for the All Blacks, it will be very exciting and one hell of a battle.