The rugby world suffered a shock this morning, waking to the sad news of the passing of Jonah Lomu overnight at the age of 40. The New Zealand giant, hailed as one of the greatest wingers of all time, scored 37 tries in 63 matches for the All Blacks.
Lomu was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome at the end of 1995 which caused him to quit the game. He had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011. He was then placed on a second waiting list for another kidney, receiving dialysis treatment during his heavy promotional work during the England Rugby World Cup just a few months ago.
His passing was described by the All Blacks team doctor as “unexpected”. Rugby fans all over the world have been expressing their sadness and grief with #RIPJonah trending on Twitter.
We here at Kameleon would like to share our favourite Jonah moments as a tribute to his amazing life.
5. Three Massive Jonah Lomu Hits
Lomu was an imposing figure on the field, standing 6 ft 4 inches and weighing in at 119 kgs, he made his presence felt at every opportunity. These hits show that he was a great defender as well as a try scoring machine.
4. Lomu’s Impressive Display vs The Wallabies (2000, Bledisloe Cup)
Jonah put in an inspired performance to give the Wallabies defence headaches (literally) all game. In front of a world record attendance of 109,874 fans at Stadium Australia in July 2000, Bledisloe 1 went down as one of the greatest games of rugby ever played. Lomu scored a late try to seal the win for New Zealand, defeating their great rivals 39-35.
3. Jonah Lomu disposes of Phil Vickery
In what turned out to be Lomu’s last test playing for the All Blacks, the gigantic winger showed his strength by leaving Phil Vickery in the dust.
2. Jonah humiliates the Scots in a brilliant Bar-Bar’s performance
In 2001, Lomu left the pitch at Murrayfield after 58 minutes to a standing ovation, but not before crossing for 4 tries and passing to a teammate twice after going over the try line to get others on the scoresheet. Cammie Murray and Chris Patterson simply had no answer to his rampaging runs down the sideline.
1. England meet Jonah Lomu in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Semi-Final
This was the moment that Lomu was shot to international rugby stardom. He scored one of the most iconic tries in the sport’s history when he ran over Mike Catt en route to the try line. He went on to score 4 tries in the match to crush England’s hopes of reaching the final. His performance throughout the tournament is credited with helping attract major commercial deals that enabled the sport to become professional later that year.
Jonah will be greatly missed by the international rugby community and we at Kameleon send our condolences to the Lomu family, the All Blacks, and all who knew him. #RIPJonah