RWC Gold: A drop of class from Zinzan

(IRB.COM) Monday 28 July 2014
 
RWC Gold: A drop of class from Zinzan
Zinzan Brooke celebrates scoring another drop goal against South Africa in 1996. Photo: Getty Images

Joel Stransky and Jonny Wilkinson will forever be remembered as the men who drop-kicked their respective sides to Rugby World Cup glory.

Springbok legend Stransky, with the second of his drop goals against the All Blacks in 1995, and England hero Wilkinson, who broke Aussie hearts eight years later, came up with the goods when it mattered most after both nerve-shredding finals had gone to extra-time.

Sandwiched in between those two tournaments, at RWC 1999, South Africa’s Jannie De Beer created his own piece of history when he struck a record five drop goals to send England crashing out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

All three players, of course, were fly halves by trade, but surprisingly two forwards have also got in on the drop goal act at Rugby World Cups.

First was Fiji flanker Manasa Qoro, who booted the ball through the uprights from 40 metres out against Italy in 1987.

Not to be outdone, the outrageously gifted New Zealand number 8 Zinzan Brooke followed suit in the 1995 edition with a monstrous effort on the run from nearly halfway.

Golden boot: Brooke relives the moment

Unfortunately for Brooke, the moment was somewhat eclipsed that day by the spectacular four-try contribution of Jonah Lomu but Brooke did make sure of his notoriety - and proved it was no fluke - by twice repeating the trick in the two years following the World Cup – against South Africa in 1996 and Wales in ’97.

Forwards who can't kick the habit 

Since then four more forwards have joined Qoro and Brooke in the pack of drop goal kings.

Of the modern-day professional number 8s, only Italy’s Sergio Parisse can hold a light to Brooke's footballing skills and versatility, so it is not surprising to see his name on the list – against Scotland in the RBS Six Nations 2009.

RWC 2003 winner Neil Back contributed a three-pointer from open play in the same championship in 2000, while the delightfully named Zambian international, Lupupa Lumpa, proved not all forwards are restricted to sticking it up the jumper by kicking a drop goal in a CAR Division 1A qualifying tie against Uganda in 2001.

The most recent drop goal by a forward in a Test match came from the boot of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Semir Pasic, against Finland on 20 April, 2014 in European Nations Cup Division 2D.