Thursday, July 10, 2008
A year after his famous drop goal against England in the Semi Final of 1995 World Cup, Zinzan Brooke once again slotted an important kick in South Africa. This time though, it sealed the fate of the Springboks as the 3 points extended the All Blacks lead in Pretoria, thus securing the historic series win of 1996.
The win was significant in that it was not only revenge for their loss to the Boks in the previous years World Cup, but it was the first time the All Blacks had won a Test series in South Africa. Inspirational leader Sean Fitzpatrick even went as far to say that he rated this series win higher than the 1987 World Cup victory.
The week before the Loftus Versfeld meeting, the All Blacks had beaten the Springboks 23-19, setting up the game in Pretoria to be a classic, with a win for New Zealand resulting in a series victory.
Despite the Springboks scoring an early try, the All Blacks led at halftime by 21-11. Late in the game the score was 30-26 when Zinzan Brooke set up in mid-field and calmly slotted a drop-goal for a 33-26 lead. Despite intense pressure for the rest of the match, the All Black defence held firm and the first series win in South Africa was achieved to the delight of the New Zealand players and the nation.
It was a special moment in the history of rugby, and one that went a long way to cementing Zinzans reputation as one of the best number 8s to ever grace the pitch. He scored 17 test tries, a record for a forward, and slotted three drop goals, making him a giant of the game and a legend both on and off the pitch.
Final Score: 33-26 to New Zealand