I was watching Invictus last night, and it reminded me how awesome Jonah Lomu was for the All Blacks at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. The above video shows his incredible game for the All Blacks versus English Rugby Team in the semi-final. In that game Jonah Lomu scored four tries, providing a showcase for his power, speed, swerve, and running lines. One particular signature world cup try features him bumping of two tackles and then trampling over Mike Catt while trying to regain his balance. Hard to believe he was only 20 years old.
At the tournament Jonah Lomu exploded onto the rugby scene, becoming the first rugby superstar. After the England semi-final, Will Carling was quoted as saying “He is a freak and the sooner he goes away the better”.
The youngest player to ever play a test for the All Blacks, he only had two caps going into the World Cup, and he still holds the record for most tries in World Cups, with 15. He also took the 1999 World Cup by the scruff of the neck, scoring 8 tries at that tournament. At the next Rugby World Cup, in New Zealand 2011, Joe Rokocoko will be one of the key challengers to that record should he be selected for the All Blacks. He would have had an extra world cup though, and currently sits at 11 tries from his two tournaments.
Over his career for the All Blacks he played 63 tests and scored 35 tries in a career that went from the amateur error in 1994 to kidney-disorder forced retirement. However, he has made a few attempts at rugby comebacks following a successful kidney transplant and at the time of writing is playing for third division French club team Marseille Vitrolles.
In the movie Invictus Jonah Lomu was played by Isaac Feau’nati and his character was prominent in all discussions regarding the Springboks chances in the final. Despite Lomu battling hard in the match, the Springboks were able to successfully able to target him in defence and he did not score a try. An interesting statistic about Jonah Lomu is that despite all his tries he was never able to score one against South Africa. It has been said that his barnstorming efforts at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa set in motion the process of rugby turning professional, which happened a year later in 1996.