Brooke demands payback for Scottish surrender
November 7, 2008
Brooke won 58 caps in a 10-year international career that stretched from 1987-97 © Getty Images
Wayne Barnes' role in the New Zealand's rugby World Cup demise last year has inevitably been revisited before he referees the All Blacks for the first time since their controversial quarterfinal exit at Cardiff.
However, on the eve of the All Blacks opening test of their Grand Slam attempt at Murrayfield here tomorrow, legendary No.8 Zinzan Brooke has identified another culprit responsible for extending New Zealand's World Cup woe -- Scotland coach Frank Hadden.
Brooke has launched an astonishing attack on the architect of ploy to play Scotland's reserves against the All Blacks when the teams met in pool play last September, accusing the Scot of undermining New Zealand before they encountered Barnes in the sudden death phase against France. New Zealand beat Scotland 40-0 but from Hadden's perspective the tactic worked -- his rested and fully fit top side beat fellow would-be quarter-finalists Italy to also advance to the knockout stages.
Hadden was heavily criticised at the time and a bitter Brooke clearly has not yet come to terms with the rationale, demanding the All Blacks exact revenge tomorrow. Brooke admitted he hoped the All Blacks thrashed Hadden's men, believing that soft group game meant the All Blacks headed into the quarters without facing a genuine challenge.
"I want New Zealand to beat the hell out of Scotland," Brooke wrote for the BBC. "People have questioned why the All Blacks are not playing their strongest side (tomorrow) but, for me, the Scots are getting a taste of their own medicine," the 58-test forward continued.
"I lost interest in Scottish rugby because of what they did at the World Cup last year. To field a second-string side in a pool match was an absolute joke. They effectively conceded the game by resting their top team and I don't think it helped their cause or the All Blacks' cause. The All Blacks were underdone when it came to the knockout stages because they didn't have a decent hit-out."
Scotland proceeded to be eliminated by Argentina while the All Blacks lost 20-18 to the French -- their worst ever finish at a World Cup. Barnes' influence on the outcome was significant after he missed a forward pass leading to the match-winning try, while the All Blacks were astonished not to receive a solitary penalty during a second half which they dominated. The penalty count was eventually 10-2 in France's favour.
Despite being vilified by some New Zealanders after the match, Barnes has been untouchable. But for Brooke, retribution can and should be taken against the Scots.
"I'd be quite happy for the All Blacks to kick their butts, frankly, as payback for the World Cup," he said. And he fully expected his revenge mission to be executed: "Even if New Zealand don't have their top team out, they should still be good enough to stick another 40 points on them."
Meanwhile, there will be no repeat of another controversial element of that last meeting between the two nations. A jersey clash meant it was often difficult to differentiate between the teams after the Scots wore navy blue with gray trim and the New Zealand ran on in their now defunct silver and black change strip. Scotland will wear white tomorrow, New Zealand the traditional all black.
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