Brooke, one of the trailblazers for ball-playing forwards, was back for a second year to help ME Touch promote the sport, while founder John Larkins was able to call upon the help of fellow All Black icon Cullen this time around.
Both spent the four days of the championship lending their expertise to rugby-mad youngsters in the capital, while also competing in the tournament’s pro-am alongside England’s Danny Willett and South Africa’s Branden Grace.
Cullen is New Zealand’s second top try-scorer of all time with 46, three behind Doug Howlett, but was brought up, near Wellington, on touch.
And he sang the praises of the sport and backed the work Larkins is doing promoting it in the Emirates and beyond.
“Growing up in Paekakariki I played touch from a young age,” said the 40-year-old who shone bright but briefly in 58 Tests for the All blacks from 1996-2002 before finishing his career with Munster in Ireland.
“All the locals played whatever age we were, from me aged 10 to older boys. We’d meet up on a Monday night and have a massive game of touch.
“For kids, it’s great. You don’t need to worry about contact or getting hurt. It’s great for your skills, vision, there’s everything you need for rugby apart from contact, which is what a lot of kids shy away from. The more they play it the better they’re going to be.”
Larkins, a fellow Wellington native, said Cullen was all too happy to help out this year.
“I’m working with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to set up ambassadorial schemes like the one HSBC has,” said Larkins.
“We’re looking to get guys over here and they asked me about inviting guys who I know with touch rugby background and Culley came to mind. He was free, I told him about the UAE Touch background and he jumped at it.