All Black legend and one of the greatest rugby players of all time, Jonah Lomu, died this morning.
The New Zealand winger had only arrived home from London last night and despite suffering a major illness which required a kidney transplant in 2004, his death at the age of 40 was unexpected.
“The family are obviously devastated, as are friends and acquaintances,” former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew said.
Lomu’s impact on the game as one of its most feared players spanned 63 internationals. At 1.96m and 119kg, he had played just two Tests when the World Cup began in South Africa in 1995.
He finished the tournament with seven tries in five matches including four against England in the semi-final.
But it was this one freak rampage over England full back Mike Catt which, in the pre-YouTube era, had everyone in pubs, clubs, workplaces and homes stopping and staring at their TVs for weeks after.
Here’s what the main players had to say about years later:
“Scoring the opening try against England in Cape Town, to me that was a defining moment in my career more than anything else.”
Martin Johnson, England captain
“He was just so huge, so quick and just watching him destroy teams… I remember the first try when he run over Mike Catt and it was like ‘Right, it’s going to be a long, long, long day.”
Mike Catt, victim
“I was thinking right what do I do, do I jump on top of him, and do I try and pull him down or do I do the traditional… So I thought I’ll do the traditional sort of tackle and ah… he just ran straight over the top of me, really.”
And here’s the full highlights reel of Lomu’s 1995 World Cup:
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