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Legends of the Game: Jonah Lomu

The most feared man in rugby

Posted Jul 12, 2011 by Legends

The great Kiwi legend

One of the greatest names – and most feared – in the game of rugby – is this week’s legend feature, as we take a look at arguably the best winger ever to have played the game. Dubbed as one of the first superstars of rugby, he is also one of the most intimidating players to have ever crossed the touchline.

Jonah Tali Lomu was born on 12th May 1975 and made 212 appearances for club and country, scoring 160 tries, making him one of the most prolific players of all time.

However, his outstanding career was devastated by a ten-year battle with a rare and serious kidney disease that took him out of top level rugby for most of the 1997 season, and also forced the curtain down on his career in 2003 at the age of just 28. He had to go through 8 hours of dialysis each day for treatment of the nephrotic syndrome, purely to stay alive.

Then, in June 2005, Lomu made a phenomenal return to elite level rugby, leading out an invitational team against a Martin Johnson XV at Twickenham. Not only did Lomu manage to compete in the match, he scored a try in the first half – only to injure his shoulder in the process, forcing him off at half time as a precaution. The injury was later revealed to be more serious than first feared and surgery was required, forcing him to miss the rest of the campaign.

In 2006, his club, North Harbour, allowed him to go and play for the Cardiff Blues, and he made his first appearance for the Welsh side on 10 December, in a Heineken Cup fixture against Calvisano, where he played 60 minutes.

This impressive and dedicated career all began back in 1994 at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, At the age of 19 years and 45 days, Lomu became the youngest All Black test player as he debuted on the wing against France later in 1994, breaking a record that had been held by Edgar Wrigley since 1905.

This was backed up by performances at the 1995 World Cup that many acknowledged him to have been the best player in, despite New Zealand failing to win the competition. His performances in World Cups continued to improve and he is still the highest try scorer in World Cup rugby history, scoring 15 tries.

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