Dublin: 16°C Thursday 19 May 2022

Words don't do Lomu justice: 9 times Jonah left the world awestruck

The great man had to be seen to be believed.

IT’S DIFFICULT TO quantify the impact of Jonah Lomu with words alone. Superlatives only stretch so far and the great All Black wing, who died at the age of 40 today, consistently surpassed all the praise afforded to him.

Jonah Lomu leaves the pitch after the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

A sentence, a paragraph nor a tome can do Lomu justice, because Lomu was the man who made people outside of rugby pull up a chair and watch in awe. Only the actions of the giant, incredibly athletic  and powerful wing can match up with the legend and folklore that has been written many times over.

Every one of Lomu’s 37 Test tries are impressive, but a few minutes into a full highlight reel, you have to stop and check yourself. Because he made the game look so ridiculously easy, you must issue an internal reminder that these are grown-up athletes and fierce competitors he’s trampling over and humiliating before restoring their character with a handshake and hug post-match.

There is one Lomu moment that will always stand out above all others, but here are just eight more instances when he made jaws and defenders drop while making sport-lovers rise to their feet.

Ireland just weren’t ready for the oncoming force of nature in ’95

Rugby went professional in 1995, but Ireland were still about five years away from embracing the change. So they weren’t even close to being equipped to stop this.

lomu ire

The great man wasn’t willing to let Richard Wallace and Brendan Mullin prevent him from scoring his first international try.

England could be forgiven for thinking he was saving his best, most unstoppable, charges just for them

Give him a sniff on the wing (1999)…

lomu 99

… or a mere three backs as an obstacle (2002), and he will force a way through.

lomu england


Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership.

Become a Member

Against France, he reduced les Bleus defence to rubble

The early part of this YouTube clip is grainy, so wait for the replay after 30 seconds to see the full extent of the carnage the winger is capable of. It’s men against boys.

Source: jibi123456789/YouTube

Yet he was more than just a bulldozer

When Jonah needed to make a dummy carry and slip a quick pass away, he did that perfectly too.

lomu pass

Through Lomu’s highlight reel, Cammie Murray is probably the defender that deserves most sympathy

The All Black legend destroyed the Scot time and again when he suited up for the Barbarians in 2001. First, he gets a chance to run into space from deep and opens up into a majestic long stride that burns off Murray.

lomu race

Murray had a decent outing against Lomu in the ’99 World Cup, but here thinks he has his angles right, until he is swatted away like an irritating fly as Lomu puts the foot down.

lomu hand off

Third time lucky? Nope.

lomu patterson 2

Jonah Lomu: Gamechanger

Source: Setanta Sports/YouTube

Jonah Lomu, a rugby ‘freak’ sadly cut short in his prime

‘Heartbroken is the phrase’ – Keith Wood reacts to sad Jonah Lomu news

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next: