My Rugby World Cup hero: Jonah Lomu

Date published: June 11 2019

Ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, we dig through the archives to highlight a hero from the tournament. We start with Jonah Lomu.

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Jonah Tali Lomu was born on May 12, 1975 and became the youngest All Black when he made his debut against France in June 1994. Lomu would play a total of 63 matches for New Zealand but shot to fame in 1995 in South Africa, putting rugby union on the map as a unique talent who brought many new supporters to the game. His size, speed and devastating running quickly became a feature of the tournament as he picked up seven tries.

Lomu would feature in two Rugby World Cups and was a star in both, finishing with eight crossings in the 1999 showpiece, but unfortunately it was in vain as New Zealand could not lift the coveted prize during his career. In World Cups he scored an incredible 15 tries in 11 games and will undoubtedly go down as one of the great wings.

His Rugby World Cup moment

As mentioned, 1995 was the year Lomu announced himself to the sporting world and his semi-final performance against England was remarkable as he crossed for four tries to book a final date with host nation South Africa.

He began the tournament with a brace against Ireland in their Pool opener as the World Cup got its first glimpse of the great man. He would not score against Wales and wasn’t involved against Japan in that infamous 145-17 rout, but returned in the quarter-finals to cross against Scotland before the semi-final at Newlands arrived.

The first of his four tries saw him run over Mike Catt and Lomu revealed in an interview with Total Rugby it was a “defining moment” in his rugby career. Lomu would then ghost around Rob Andrew for his second before Josh Kronfeld set him up for his third in the second-half. His fourth and final try started from halfway as he rounded Tony Underwood before stepping inside Catt to cap an outstanding performance that put him on the map.

This series is open to all our readers so if you have a World Cup hero – for whatever reason or from whichever country – then get on your computer and pay tribute to them in the above format. We will strive to publish as many as possible before and during the tournament. Email your piece to planetrugbyeditor@planetsport.com