All Blacks legend declared bankrupt after failed property development

All Blacks legend declared bankrupt after failed property development


 One of rugby union’s world greats has seen his latest property venture end in disaster as he and his wife have been declared bankrupt, the

New Zealand Herald reports.

Former All Blacks star

Zinzan Brooke

, 47, and his wife


, 44, were listed in the Bankruptcy Orders section on the

London Gazette

website, which referred to the couple’s Frances Lodge Bed & Breakfast operation in Windsor.

Bankruptcy orders were listed separately for both Brooke and his wife and they were filed on July 27th 2012. G. Rogers from the Insolvency Service in Reading has been appointed as the receiver for the business, which opened three years ago.

Frances Lodge, the boutique B & B operation, is described on its site as possessing an atmosphere of “sophistication married with simplicity”. Appearing on the outside like a traditional Victorian villa, it hosts ten en-suite bedrooms, an open-plan communal lounge and dining spaces.



in the Telegraph in 2007 looked at the links between rugby stars and property, and detailed Zinzan Brooke’s property background and portfolio.


Brooke, a plumber and gas fitter by trade, said: “I was involved in construction and buy-to-lets in New Zealand. It is amazing this rugby and property link. My brother Robin (another former All Black) was a site foreman and other members of my family are in the building trade."

Brooke revealed that he built his own home aged 23 and then took some equity out of it and invested in buy-to-lets in Auckland. He said he picked up properties at the bottom of the market, leveraging as he went. “At one time I had around 27 properties. I did building work on some of them. My trick was to go for quick settlements and therefore negotiate hard on purchase price.”

Brooke came to England in 1997 to play and coach at Harlequins. After his retirement in 2002 he rekindled his interest in construction and property and he set about establishing himself with a number of refurbs and new builds around his adopted home town of Windsor.

After establishing himself in the local residential scene an opportunity came up to expand into the rapidly growing apartment market. From here his property development company, Valentines Homes, grew and developed some premium sites around London.

Valentines Homes had 24 flats at a development called North West in Watford. They were tenanted but available for sale to investors looking for good rental yields. These high-spec apartments were available from £140,000 to £275,000.

In the Telegraph piece Brooke said that Valentines Homes was a £12 million turnover business and its work was “a mix of renovation and new build”, with developments to its name in Windsor, Watford, Chesham and Rickmansworth. He added: "We build a mix of apartments and houses and I am hoping eventually to build Valentines Homes into a £50 million company," says Brooke, whose properties sell for anything between £175,000 and £1million.

However, in July last year it was announced that Valentines Homes LLP and Valentines Homes & Construction Limited were to be wound up voluntarily and liquidated.

Brooke also started another venture called No 8 Recruitment, a labour hire business for labourers, carpenters, bricklayers and quantity surveyors, which is still running.

Brooke is viewed by many as the best No. 8 ever to play the game. Between 1987 and 1997, he played 58 tests and scored 195 points made up of 42 tries and three drop goals.

He is probably remembered most significantly for his 47m drop goal against England in the 1995 World Cup Semi-Final.


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