Star rugby couple declared bankrupt

Former All Black star Zinzan Brooke and his wife, Alison, have been declared bankrupt in Britain.

Bankruptcy orders published on the London Gazette website refer to the couple's bed and breakfast, Frances Lodge, in Windsor, 34km west of London.

Brooke and his wife had separate orders listed and they were filed in the Slough County Court on July 27.

G. Rogers from the Insolvency Service in Reading has been appointed as receiver for the business, which opened three years ago.

In an interview in 2010, Ali Brooke described the family's business venture of turning their "former family home into the most successful B&B in Windsor in a matter of months".

"We've made it modern and boutique-y and New Zealand-like," she told the New Zealand Woman's Weekly. "There's nothing else like it in Windsor."

The family lived in a nearby rental property, the magazine said, explaining that although the couple had bought several properties in Britain, the downturn in the market meant "they'll have to wait until it picks up before considering a return to New Zealand".

Rooms at the lodge started from about £100 ($193) a night and it was pitched on its website as possessing an atmosphere of "sophistication married with simplicity".

Its setting was a location close to Windsor Castle "where the great and the good of Windsor choose tolive".

Appearing on the outside like a traditional Victorian villa, inside are 10 ensuite bedrooms, an open-plan communal lounge and dining spaces, the website says.

Zinzan Brooke said his vision for the lodge was to provide an "oasis of calm" to people after they had watched "muscle and brawn battling it out on the rugby pitch".

The Herald interviewed the manager of the lodge in April as Brooke was preparing to host a wedding party for a couple who wanted to be married on the same day as Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Brookes moved to Britain in 1997. There, Brooke played for, and later coached, the Harlequins.

He then had a season with Coventry before moving to the Windsor Rugby Club.

He retired from rugby after injuring his head when he fell getting out of a taxi in Spain in 2007.

Brooke is viewed by many as the best No 8 ever to wear the black jersey. He played for the All Blacks between 1987 and 1997, appearing in 58 tests and scoring 195 points made up of 42 tries and three drop goals.

- NZ Herald

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