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: “It’s the biggest game of their lives”

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Zinzan Brooke     06 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Once the fulltime whistle went in the second Test, I had around 120 text messages from up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Someone even texted me who I hadn't heard from in two years! Two years of waiting for that moment in the sun. Here's hoping that's the last I hear from him for another couple of years.


I mentioned it in an earlier column, it will be tough for the visitors to win two in a row. But what we have here is a battle of two very distinctive sides that grabbed the physical battle by the scruff of the neck. The All Blacks won that contest in the first Test and that helped towards the win. Then last weekend the Lions showed the significance of playing all of the Super franchises, the Maori All Blacks and the All Blacks. They played superbly and shut down the All Black attack. The tour was labelled a suicidal mission, but it may have just been the perfect preparation for the biggest game of their lives on Saturday.

The Lions have been sunning it up and training a bit in Queenstown, and it's no surprise they've gone for an unchanged side for Saturday's game. There's no need to make wholesale changes, and there are no risks of injury thanks to no midweek game between the second and third Tests.

For the All Blacks, there will be three sets of three words delivered this week: All or nothing. Stand and deliver. This is war. I didn't think they were far off the mark on Saturday, but I still don't think Sonny Bill Williams' red card was why they lost. They were up 18-9 with a good quarter of the game to go and really should have put the game to bed. A lot of those All Blacks will have learnt a hell of a lesson in that final quarter, but will take comfort in knowing they've got that experience under their belts.
With so much on the line, I just have two words for Ngani Laumape and in particular Jordie Barrett: Good luck. People can make their names in Lions series, but they can also lose them. It's time for you boys to stand and deliver in one of the biggest rugby cauldrons on the planet.

There's no time to learn, no time to blood yourselves in to this environment. Jordie needs to ensure his kick-chase game is strong and Ngani's ball running will again be something for the Lions to be wary of.

I've got zero doubts in the quality of these two guys, though, and it bodes for a pulsating finale.

This is what most punters would have wanted, a decider at Eden Park. It's now up to those punters and all others from around New Zealand and anywhere else in the world to cheer the boys home. I could tell the Lions supporters outroared the locals in that second Test, and it's a bit of a cliché but the 16th man really does make a difference.

So come on New Zealand, let's get behind them and make sure we finish the series strong.

Even if it's just so I don't have to get another 120 smug text messages up here.

Tutira mai! Tatou tatou!