Jonah Lomu - the Rugby Player Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Jonah Lomu - the Rugby Player

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A player who has been called many things by many men1, Jonah Lomu caused a sensation when he burst onto the world footy2 stage during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

At nearly two metres tall, weighing comfortably in excess of 18 stone and clocked at 10.98 seconds for the hundred metres sprint, the young Lomu blasted his way down the wing for New Zealand. Team after team tried to stop him. Those who were not fully aware of his potential3, were simply overwhelmed. South Africa was the only team able to stop this behemoth - through a cunning combination of prayer and gang-tackling. The Springboks did work hard on a game plan that both stopped Lomu and prevented concentration on him from leaving holes for others to exploit.

Nonetheless, Lomu's fame led to a flurry of rumours of moves to the NFL, rugby league or English club rugby. None of these moves materialised, and Lomu's form soon faded. This turned out to be due to a kidney disorder, from which he was not expected to recover. However, after a period in which his weight ballooned to over 21 stone4, Lomu turned the corner, and made it back into the All Black squad in time to tour the UK at the end of 1997. Though he was not yet fit enough to play, this foreshadowed his eventual return to the All Black ranks, first as an impact player and then as an ever-present in the 1999 World Cup, in which he is currently the leading try-scorer. The highlight of Lomu's career was a Gold Medal in the 1998 rugby sevens at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.

Visit Planet Rugby for his career record.

1He was called 'A freak' by Will Carling in 1995.2That would be rugby football, rather than football, as in soccer.3England in the semi-final, for instance.4He was eating two chickens a day.

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