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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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Zinzan Brooke: Boks slowly on the rise

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Zinzan Brooke     15 Sep 2018     Getty Images

I was pleased with what they accomplished last weekend against the Pumas, whose ball retention was very good. They asked a few questions of the All Blacks.

But the All Blacks stayed strong to the game plan and pulled away at the end. It was quite a calculated performance and they scrummed well. There were big games from the likes of Shannon Frizell, who carried strongly, and Ardie Savea, and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi made a big impact off the bench too.

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That France, England, Argentina pool at RWC 2019 will be a tight one. But the return match in Buenos Aires in a fortnight will be interesting because the All Blacks will have to be on top of their game to win that one well.

Like Argentina, there are some signs that the Springboks are on the rise with the way the Lions have performed in Super Rugby and with the 2-1 June Test series win over England. In a year’s time, they could be in very good shape for RWC.

You might ask when the dip in form for the All Blacks is going to come, but it hasn’t happened so far. I think it will be a tough encounter in Wellington, but I’m not worried about the All Blacks. They’ll be firm favourites.

There is a void between the All Blacks and the other top nations, because they step up to the mark every time.

South Africa is a very proud nation. From a distance, there is an element of confidence in the Springboks and it’s only matter of time before they click, so they will need to keep that team together. You can have five minutes glitches but no longer than that during matches with the All Blacks.

There is the good and the bad. There is no middle ground with the Springboks at the moment, but you need to gauge how the Boks are going with how they go against the All Blacks.
The Boks have bolstered their squad with Handre Pollard and Malcolm Marx. Marx is a beast of a man. He’s quick. I like what he does.

I have nothing against Elton Jantjies. He has a fantastic designer haircut but Pollard is the reliable option at 10 so that’s a good call from the Boks.

There will be aerial bombardment, as Steve Hansen has mentioned. The All Backs need to be tested and there is no better place to be tested than on New Zealand soil.

Francois Louw is a very robust character and will bring a lot off the bench. I have watched a lot of him up at Bath and he is top fetcher. We see how well the All Blacks bench contributes, so I don’t see any difference with the Boks higher numbers. They have men such as ‘Beast’ Mtawarira who can enter the fray and offer maximum impact.

I had a speaking engagement up here with Lawrence Dallaglio and Richard Hill on Wednesday night and they all agreed that the All Blacks are the team to chase, but the key point was that you cannot shut down or shut off against them, as suddenly they can rattle up 50 points. You can feel the anticipation right now for that England-All Blacks Test in November. That will come around in no time.

It’ll either be a very tight clash in Wellington with a 3-5 point win to the All Blacks, or they will win comfortably, though it won’t be 57-0 like it was in Albany last year.