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Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu

Facts
NationNew Zealand
BornAuckland, May 12 1975
PositionWing
Internationals63 caps between 1994 and 2002
InductedEngland v New Zealand November 21, 2009)

The following article has been adapted from the original by Dai Llewellyn, which focused on two players. It has been changed to highlight only the selected inductee’s information.

New Zealand winger Jonah Lomu’s career was blighted by illness and injury, otherwise he would surely have added to the 63 appearances he made for the Land of the Long White Cloud.

When he first came on the scene Lomu’s 6ft 5in, 18½st frame sent tremors through pitches and opponents alike.

He might only have been aged 19 years and 45 days – making him the youngest player to make his debut for the All Blacks – but still he looked unstoppable, and frequently was. Just ask Tony Underwood, the former England wing, or indeed any member of the Red Rose team that was smashed aside in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when Lomu ran in four tries. He went on to score a staggering 37 tries for his country, putting him right up there with the best of the best.

But Lomu possessed more than mere physical presence, as Richard Hill, who came up against him once or twice in his 71-cap career, recalled. “Jonah Lomu knew when to use his power and when to use his pace. That was the phenomenon of Jonah when he came along. It wasn’t just a case of him being a battering ram. He did have a good sidestep and the ability, once he was through the hole, actually to accelerate away.

“When he came on to the scene he was a class of player that hadn’t been seen before. It was almost creating a mould for others coming in behind him.”

As for stopping this behemoth of a wing threequarter, who boasted a 10.8 second 100 metres, Hill has some eminently sensible advice for would-be tacklers. “Certainly, from having played against him, I know you don’t ever want to let him get up a head of steam.
“That was one of the key things when tackling him, taking the man and the ball. Actually start tackling him while he is concentrating on catching the ball. He was difficult to stop once he had got going, and when he did it was better to tackle him from behind, not from in front.”

Article by Dai Llewellyn

 

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