As the world farewells a humble, kind hearted New Zealand legend, tributes of this international rugby superstar pour onto social media.
It comes with great shock that on the 18th of November 2015, Jonah Lomu, the friendly giant that New Zealand and the world came to love, has died in his Auckland home at the age of 40.
Rugby in heaven just got a whole lot tougher with Jonah joining other New Zealand rugby greats like Jerry Collins, Norm Berryman and Jock Hobbs. Cartoonist Rod Emmerson drew a perfect tribute that will make you smile.
Jonah Lomu is remembered for the countless times of not only steam rolling past and over top massive front rowers but also out sprinting all his opposition to the try line.
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 in 1994, breaking a record that had been held by Edgar Wrigley since 1905
Jonah had sixty-three caps as an All Black. He has been described as the first true global superstar of rugby union and made a huge impact on the game. Jonah was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011. Jonah Lomu will go down as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.
Despite never winning a World Cup and only playing in two tournaments, Jonah is one of the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorers with 15 tries, a record he now shares with South African player, Bryan Habana. Watch some of Jonah’s greatest tries.
Jonah was captured at the 2015 Rugby World Cup performing the Haka in a flash mob. Lomu lined-up alongside The Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club and participants to deliver a priceless surprise to the people of London.
For me to get through the toughest periods in my life, I had to look within to find the energy to do it. I don’t give up. Never have. Never will.
Jonah never scored a try against the Springboks but he set up moments of magic for the All Blacks. Watch an epic memory of Jonah against the Springboks in a Tri Nations match in August 2001 at Eden Park, Auckland.
Earlier this year Jonah was named one of Heinekens Rugby World Cup Ambassadors. A bar in Dublin was stoked to see Jonah emerge from one of the Heineken machines. Watch The Jonah Machine.
Jonah of course is well known for his greatness on the field but it was his performance of strength and resilience off the field that captured the hearts of people around the world. At the end of 1995 Jonah was diagnosed with a serious kidney disorder of nephrotic syndrome. This put a halt to Jonah’s rugby career in order to treat this disorder. His contribution to numerous charities across New Zealand, especially those with children, showed he was a true testament of inspiration. On the exterior, a beast of a man with power and strength. However it was the interior that grasped the world’s hearts due to his soft nature and characteristic of being humble. His absolute love of the game of rugby resonates above all else and established the pride he had for the sport and his time playing for his country. Some say that the world never truly got to see Jonah at his most clinical, powerful and fittest state. But we all got to see the true legend that he is, was, and always will be on and off the field.
Rest in peace Jonah.
Looking back, my whole life seems so surreal. I didn’t just turn up on the doorstep playing rugby; I had to go through a whole lot of things to get there.