Jonah Lomu : biography
Jonah Tali Lomu, MNZM (born 12 May 1975) is a former New Zealand rugby union player. He had sixty-three caps as an All Black after debuting in 1994. He is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union. He has had a huge impact on the game. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011.
Lomu burst onto the international rugby scene during the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament and was widely acknowledged to be the top player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa even though New Zealand lost the championship game to the host Springboks. At one time Lomu was considered ‘rugby union’s biggest drawcard’, swelling attendances at any match where he appeared. He is the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorer with 15 tries.
He has played for several domestic teams, in the Super Rugby, NPC and later the Magners League competitions. These included the Auckland Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes, and Counties Manukau, Wellington and later North Harbour and Cardiff Blues. He made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2004.
1999 and the World Cup
Lomu’s 1999 international season kicked off with a warm-up match against New Zealand A, which was followed by a game against Samoa in which Lomu scored one of the All Blacks’ nine tries. Lomu came on late in the first game of the 1999 Tri Nations Series, which was a 28–0 win over South Africa, and at one point took eight men to bring him down. He again started from the bench in the subsequent game against Australia which the All Blacks also won. Lomu started from the bench in the following match against the Springboks in Pretoria, though he came in early in the 34–18 win. He was introduced at near half-time in the final Tri Nations game against Australia in Sydney, though the game was characterised by New Zealand errors, and Australia won the rainy affair, in front of 107,042 supporters. Despite the loss, the All Blacks were crowned Tri Nations champions.
He scored eight tries at the 1999 World Cup. In New Zealand’s first pool match of the tournament against Tonga he scored two tries, scoring again in one of his finest matches in pool play against England. Lomu scored his second double of the tournament in the third and final pool match against Italy. The All Blacks, finishing at the top of their pool, proceeded to the quarter-finals, where they defeated Scotland, where Lomu scored one of New Zealand’s four tries. Lomu scored twice in the semi-final match against France, though it was not enough to see them through to the final, as France went on to win 43–31. Through his career, Lomu has scored eight tries against England – more than any other All Black. Lomu also holds an unbeaten record of 15 tries in World Cup tournaments. Following the World Cup, there was speculation that Lomu would be moving to play American Football in the National Football League, or continue to play rugby in the English Premiership. None of the speculation materialised and Lomu stayed in New Zealand.
International analysis by opposition