Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jonah Lomu: The First Superstar of Rugby

Jonah Tali Lomu, MNZM (born 12 May 1975) is a 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 officially the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorer with 15 tries. He has played for several provincial teams, in the Super Rugby and NPC competitions. 

These included the Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes, and Counties Manukau, Wellington and later North Harbour. He made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2004. Jonah Lomu is today a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.
Despite having just two All Black caps, Lomu was included in the squad for the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. 

Lomu stunned international rugby audiences (and unsuspecting players) at the 1995 World Cup, when he scored seven tries in five matches, including four in the semi-final against England. In his first ever World Cup match, against Ireland in Johannesburg, he scored two tries in the 43–19 win. In the following match—against Wales—Lomu was replaced during the game, and did not score any tries in the 34–9 victory. He was rested for the final pool match against Japan. 

In the All Blacks' quarter final, Lomu scored a try in the 48–30 win over Scotland at Loftus Versfeld. He shocked the 51,000 that packed into Newlands in Cape Town to see the semi-final against England, as he notched up four tries in the 45–29 defeat of the English, including a try in which he ran straight over the top of England fullback Mike Catt.


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