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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Zinzan to make comeback
Zinzan Brooke
Zinzan captained the All Blacks to Tri-Nations glory
Former All Blacks star Zinzan Brooke is to revive his playing career with National Division One side Coventry.

The New Zealand legend has been a free agent since quitting as Harlequins head coach in January after a three-year association with the club.

Brooke retired from playing in June last year, but recently expressed an interest in making a comeback and is now set to register with Coventry.

"We're just finalising the details now, but we've agreed the terms," Brooke told BBC Sport Online.

Coventry had a lot of injury problems and needed experienced players to step in, so they asked me
Zinzan Brooke
"I like the idea of training and match fitness, but the move to Coventry means less pressure than Premiership rugby and more flexibility for me"

The 36-year-old back row forward made his All Blacks debut in 1987, winning 58 caps and was awarded the captaincy in 1990.

During a distinguished career Brooke captained the All Blacks to the inaugural Tri-Nations series title and Auckland to Super-12 glory.

Coventry's Keith Fairbrother told the Coventry Evening Telegraph: "It's a massive signing for us and one that shows our intention to compete at the highest level.

"Zinzan has had a year off, but he has got his appetite back for the game and it was a fortunate coincidence for us that he expressed a desire to return at the time we were talking to agents.

"He has told us he will be giving it 100% and although he is coming to us as a player, he is a World Cup captain with a wealth of experience and obviously very competitive, and as such is sure to have an input in other ways.

"He has got to get himself match fit and prove that he is worthy of a place - those are his words - and his first aim is to make a mark with the squad and gain their respect."

No pressure

Since leaving Harlequins at the beginning of the year, Brooke has enjoyed a more relaxed participation in the game.

"I played a few games for Harlequins amateurs and really liked it because there was no pressure," Brooke said.

"Coventry had a lot of injury problems and needed experienced players to step in, so they asked me."

"I thought that if I can play rugby and get paid for it, then why not?"

Brooke's decision to join the Division One side came too late to register for this weekend's game, but the Kiwi intends to be on the pitch in a few week's time.

"The delay is quite good in terms of training because I need to do more base training," he explained.

"I've just been doing some light running at the moment and could probably only manage about 60 minutes of a game."

See also:

02 Jan 01 |  Rugby Union
Broken Brooke admits defeat
01 Jan 01 |  Rugby Union
Brooke quits Quins post
02 Jan 01 |  Rugby Union
Harlequins chief wants new coach
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