Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40. Blessed with an amazing physique, great hands, balance and speed, he was a one-off a man who changed the parameters of the game of rugby union. A rare kidney illness, which had been diagnosed before his entry on the world stage in 1995, and reduced his performance in 1999, forced his retirement at the age of 27. As shy and quiet a man off the field as he was ruthless on it, he said that he didn’t perform at any more than 80% because of his illness.
I saw him play against Scotland in the 1999 World Cup when he lit up a miserable, wet, October night in Edinburgh. Much was made of his size but he was the real all round deal, a great rugby player with all the skills that I have listed above and more. Judge for yourself, here are all his international tries (none against Wales).
His last appearances in public were during the recent World Cup in England where he was an ambassador for rugby even whilst undergoing 4-6 hours of dialysis every day.
Rest in peace big man.
Here he is in a flash mob Haka in Covent Garden: