All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies aged 40

All Blacks legend and rugby’s first global superstar Jonah Lomu has died, aged 40.



Lomu had an explosive impact at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, battled kidney disorders since the end of 1995 when he was diagnosed with nephritic syndrome and had a kidney transplant in 2004.

The giant Tongan, who was born and raised in South Auckland, featured regularly in SPASIFIK magazine, most recently in 2013 when an updated edition of Jonah – My Story was published featuring his ongoing battle to stay alive.

He had health setbacks since then and had been receiving dialysis treatments during his recent visit to Britain where he was involved in heavy promotional work during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

credit www.teara.govt.nzLomu and his family had transferred to Dubai where they were holidaying on their way back to New Zealand.

Lomu played 63 tests for the All Blacks between 1994 and 2002, scoring 37 tries. He shot to worldwide stardom at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. With his rare combination of size, speed and power, Lomu was acknowledged as a game-changer when it came to the dynamics of the modern wing.

As an All Black, while he drew criticism for some of his defensive work, his attacking game was unrivalled.

The highlight came in the 1995 World Cup semifinal against England in Cape Town when he ran in four tries, including one where he literally ran over the top of English fullback Mike Catt. But he scored many memorable tries, some which no other wingers would have been capable of.

He went on to play the 1999 World Cup as well and is the joint record try-scorer with South African wing Bryan Habana who equalled his tally of 15 tries at this year's tournament.

Lomu attracted attention as a teenaged star at Wesley College and made his initial impact in sevens rugby. He continued dallying in sevens despite his growing prowess in the 15-man game and won a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

Starting out with Counties-Manukau, Lomu went on to play provincial rugby for Wellington and North Harbour.

He later played for Cardiff and Marseille as he tried to battle back despite his ongoing health issues.

His Super Rugby career started at the Blues and took in the Chiefs and Hurricanes.

Lomu by the numbers

  • 63 tests
  • Debut on June 26, 1994 vs France in Christchurch aged 19 (then youngest ever AB)
  • Last test on November 23, 2002 vs Wales at Cardiff aged 27
  • 185 test points, 37 tries
  • AB number 941
  • Commonwealth Games gold in 1998 at KL
  • 185 first-class games, 122 tries
  • 59 Super Rugby games between Blues (22), Canes (29) and Chiefs (8)