Jonah Lomu, our very own superhero

Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40 and this blog is struggling to process the news because superheroes are meant to be immortal.  The exact cause of death remains unclear but our  money is on kryptonite.

The word legend will be used and already some are rightly making the point that like Muhammad Ali or Pele, he transcended the world beyond his sport, indeed beyond the world of sport itself.  But for rugby fans we didn’t need such things, Lomu as a rugby player was enough for us.

Imagine for a second that you owned a Back To The Future Delorean and used it to go back to 1743, grabbed some people off the street and came back and left them on the pavement in downtown Manhattan on New Year’s Eve.  The look on their faces as they gazed upon the technological wonders and mass of humanity around them would perhaps come close to seeing Lomu for the first time – wonder, amazement, horror.

He was amazing to all, wonderful if he was on your side and truly horrific if you or your team were facing him; an athlete for the modern age that was primeval in strength, power and speed.  Off the field he appeared humble, decent and kind and it is cruel that such a man should be taken from us all who love the game and moreover love humanity.

But like all superheroes he will never really die.  Someone should make a comic book about him.  We would all buy it.

What are your favourite memories of Jonah?  We like when Xavier Garbajosa literally ran backwards away from him rather than tackle him near the line in 1999.  Put yours in the comments..

About Lee

Owner, editor, not a fan of Haskell.

11 comments

Can you find a video of the? Still one of my favorite attempted tackles of all time (couldn’t blame him though)

Bill McLaren… “And there goes Jonah Lomu, proving once and for all that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”

These words make me smile as I remember him in full flight. The memory of him going over Rob Andrew always bring a smile to my face.

Lovely piece, still remember being sat in awe as a kid during the ’95 semi-final – before that I’d always wanted to be Rory Underwood and couldn’t comprehend what I was watching. He played a different game. More sad news in an incredibly sad week.

1999 against Scotland (I think, I was v drunk) charging to the line, 2 tacklers go in, he keeps going forward, rest of the Scottish team pile on, you can see this mound of blue players slowly inching towards the try line.

What
A
Guy

I remember putting together my team for the 1995 RWC Daily Telegraph Fantasy Competition. Usual rules: established stars cost more than newbies. I’d seen Lomu in the HK7s and knew he was the business and smugly enjoyed people querying why I hadn’t put Underwood on the wing…

Devastating, not just because of the player and impact he had on the sport, but aboveall, he was a genuinely nice guy who only wanted to help people. The piece they did on him visiting South Africa and meeting Joost at his home was so poignant and yet so sad. Here you had two greats of the game, both suffering from crippling diseases – it was heart-breaking to watch. But both still had massive smiles on their faces. Jonah just had the right attitude to life. He may not have won a World Cup medal, but you could see that to him, playing in that ’95 final was the pinnacle of his career win or lose. What a guy, what an impact. He essentially made professional union what it is today. The sport wouldn’t enjoy the profile it currently has if he hadn’t played in the ’95 world cup.

Great story from when Sir Clive was coaching England. Before a game against NZ, he gave a big rousing speech in the changing room about how “none of their players would make our team. Man for man we are the stronger side”.
Then Greenwood raised his hand and said “I think I speak for the whole team when I say I would gladly swap Austin [Healey] for Jonah Lomu”.
A moment of gold that sums up his impact on the game

Both those pictures are wonderful (and totally heartbreaking) – thank you for sharing.

I was 9 when the 1995 World Cup was on and living in a country where rugby was virtually impossible to watch on TV – Jonah Lomu was still the first rugby player I could name. Such was his impact (literally and figuratively) that I feel I am not alone in using him as the benchmark for all wingers since – no one has yet surpassed him. Such a tragedy that ill health deprived rugby of the full length of Lomu’s career, and even more devastating that he has passed away so young. Many condolences to his family and bring on the comic book so the legend can live on.

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