All Blacks great Justin Marshall has been working on a "secret" project while in lockdown and is keen on sharing it with New Zealand's essential workers.

Like many New Zealanders, Marshall, who currently works as a rugby commentator with Sky Sport, has been in an uncertain position with his job – in his case, due to the sporting shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But in the meantime, he's taken the opportunity to hunker down in his garage to brew his own beer, which he has named after his famous commentary call "Boomfa".

Marshall, along with his business partner Aaron O'Donnell, registered the trademark "Boomfa" early last year, with O'Donnell suggesting the beer would be mainstream and not craft.

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Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford, Marshall said apart from occasionally trying to stay fit by going for runs during lockdown, he's been working on getting his beer brand up and running.

"I've been down in my garage ... and shirking my exercise a little bit to brew some beer," he said.

"I feel a little guilty because there's people out there getting fit and I'm actually downstairs [brewing beer]. It's been a good opportunity, in conjunction with WilliamsWarn, a great brewery outfit, to get my Boomfa beer up and running. And I've been secretly down there with my head lamp at night."

Justin Marshall. Photo / Photosport
Justin Marshall. Photo / Photosport

The 46-year-old former halfback says he wants to share his freshly brewed beer with some of the country's essential workers who have been out on the frontlines keeping New Zealand safe and functioning.

He has asked people to hit him up on social media so he can share some joy and a small token of appreciation.

"What I wanted to do is - and I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to be really determined in the way that I go about it - brew a beer and to somehow get it out and distribute it to all the essential workers out there.

"The people out there that have been at the coalface, just to say thanks to them for what they're doing for the country. I'd like to brew some beers to get out to them in some form of way to appreciate what they're doing."

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Marshall, who played a then-record 81 tests for the All Blacks at No 9, also said the absence of sport has allowed him to reminisce a little bit about his career and watch old games of footy.

He opened up about his close relationship with one of his greatest rivals, former Wallaby halfback George Gregan, who he says has always been a "good mate" off the field.

"George is obviously a number 9, so he's a competitor and he's competitive as well in everything that he does. That didn't exclude other sports like the golf course.

"[We] had a rivalry on the field. There's plenty of instances that you'll see in games where I'm pushing and shoving him, trying to unseal him. And he's doing the same to me, usually verbally which was quite successful at times with his means of attack. But we were always very much under the understanding that it never went off the field.

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"So right from when we played against each other in the New Zealand Under-19s right through to test matches for our country, we always grabbed a beer with each other, visited each other's houses when we were in respective cities. And we've continued that friendship.

"In fact, I saw him in February in Sydney. So that friendship has always been there and it's been a big part of why I believe rugby is one of the great games, simply because no matter who you play against, everybody feels the same way and gets on. So he's a good mate of mine believe it or not."