- Title: All Blacks great Jonah Lomu dies
- Date: 18th November 2015
- Summary: FILE - LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 16, 2015) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** GROUP OF 100 PEOPLE PERFORMING THE HAKA IN COVENT GARDEN / FORMER NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, JONAH LOMU COMING TO THE FRONT OF THE GROUP CLOSE UP OF LOMU DURING THE PERFORMANCE VARIOUS OF HAKA IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, JONAH LOMU, SAYING OF IMMINENT WORLD CUP: "See, this is the thing. Everyone is talking about the usual suspects in terms of who are going to win the tournament; the New Zealands, the Englands, the Irelands, the Wales. The problem is they forget about the Polynesian South Pacific Island boys and those guys have a game or two that they will upset a team somewhere along the line. In 2011 it was Tonga upsetting France and in 1991 it was Samoa upsetting Wales so this is what rugby brings is that you never know what will happen in 80 minutes and whoever you think might win might not so get out there and support your team." MAORIS IN COVENT GARDEN (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, JONAH LOMU, SAYING: "They got the teams to be able do it it's just putting it on the park and hoping that the other team doesn't play as well. So that's what they'll be hoping for but in saying that though England at home at Twickenham with the support that they have, mate that's going to be a formidable team to try and beat." LOMU TAKING PART IN THE HAKA (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, JONAH LOMU, SAYING: "For me, my priceless moments is that I've got my two sons with me, they're getting a bit of history being around here in England. For New Zealand, we took old as 150, where you know there's a few hundred years old buildings here so for that alone is priceless for us. So, I'm looking forward to it, my two sons are looking forward to it, I'm looking forward to watching rugby grow a bit more and just basically people making great friends and connections here in London and looking forward to it really kicking off tomorrow." MAORIS IN COVENT GARDEN (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL, JONAH LOMU, SAYING: "Mate, it's not many times that people can get up close and personal with people doing the haka especially bringing it from New Zealand and doing it here and especially in such an iconic place as well and it's a bit of a priceless moment for a lot of people to be able to experience, to stand here right up close and personal and feel what the haka feels like if you're doing it at Twickenham as well. For me I haven't done the haka in quite a few years so it was good way to get rid of a bit of the rust but yes I'm looking forward to this World Cup really kicking off." LOMU AND 100 PEOPLE PERFORMING THE HAKA
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2015 01:23
- Keywords: New Zealand All Blacks Lomu
- Location: LONDON, UK
- City: LONDON, UK
- Country: New Zealand
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00139XUVJZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: All Blacks great Jonah Lomu, who revolutionised wing play to become rugby union's first global superstar, died on Wednesday (November 18) in Auckland at the age of 40.
Former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew told TV3 that Lomu, who had a kidney transplant in 2004, had died unexpectedly, while New Zealand Rugby later stated they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by his death.
"We're lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah's family," chief executive Steve Tew said on Twitter.
"Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world."
Lomu, who was awaiting another transplant and undergoing dialysis treatment, had undertaken commercial obligations at the recent Rugby World Cup in England before returning home.
He played 63 tests on the wing for New Zealand, scoring 37 international tries.
Those bare statistics, although impressive enough, tell only part of the story with Lomu's deeds accomplished while he battled nephritic syndrome, a disease that attacked his kidneys and necessitated the transplant in 2004.
Initially plucked from obscurity as an 18-year-old by All Blacks coach Laurie Mains, Lomu found his transition from the loose forward position he played at secondary school to the wing a challenge.
He was dropped after his first two tests against France in 1994 and barely made Mains' Rugby World Cup squad in 1995 after being deemed not fit enough for the fast-paced game the coach wanted to play.
Lomu's performances at the tournament in South Africa, however, electrified the rugby world as he scored seven tries, four in the semi-final against England alone with one when he trampled over fullback Mike Catt leaving many speechless.
The pace and power displayed by the 1.95m tall and 119kg Lomu changed the wing position with the traditional lightweight flyer gradually all but disappearing from the test game.
The ravages of Lomus's disease had begun to affect him by 1998, however, and his performances went downhill, although he still made the 1999 World Cup and scored eight tries before playing his last test against Wales in 2002.
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