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Hall of Fame Inductee - Jonah Lomu



Full Name: Jonah Tali Lomu

D.O.B: 12 May, 1975
Position: Wing
Country: New Zealand (63 Caps, 215 Points)
Clubs: Counties Manukau, Wellington, North Harbour, Blues, Cheifs, Hurricanes and Cardiff Blues

Jonah Tali Lomu (born May 12, 1975) is a New Zealand rugby union footballer who played 73 times (63 caps as an All Black) after debuting in 1994. Lomu, who is currently attempting a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2004, is generally regarded as the first superstar of rugby union's professional era.

Lomu was born in Auckland, New Zealand of Tongan descent. He grew up in South Auckland and attended Wesley College, Pukekohe.

Genesis of a giant
Lomu's physique was particularly suited for rugby as he is large, fast, and strong - qualities he augments with aggression, skill, and an intimidating presence on the field.

At 1.96 metres, Lomu is as tall as most locks, and at 120 kilograms is as heavy as most prop forwards (that is, 6 ft 5 in tall and 271 lb). Despite his size, he was, when healthy, still able to run 100 metres (109.4 yards) in 10.8 seconds. At school his sprint training included running around the field, pulling a lawn-roller with a rope tied around his waist.

While at Wesley and being coached by Chris Grinter, Lomu became a mobile loose forward in the college's First XV. He was soon noticed by provincial rugby selectors, and played for the Counties Manukau NPC team for around 5 years.

Career highs
Like John Kirwan, his All Blacks predecessor at left wing, Lomu was a phenomenon, and spectators leapt to their feet whenever he touched the ball. At one time Lomu was considered 'rugby union's biggest drawcard', swelling attendances at any match where he appeared.

At the age of 19 years and 45 days, Jonah Lomu became the youngest All Black test player as he debuted against France in 1994. His performance was middling - but the best was yet to come.

1995 World Cup
Jonah stunned international rugby audiences (and unsuspecting players) at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when he scored seven tries in five matches, including four in the semi-finals against England.

His style of play at times defied description; one commentator, Keith Quinn, was famously reduced to gasps as Lomu devastated England's backline. Will Carling labelled Lomu "a freak" after being steamrollered. Lomu's attacking style was one of pure power; he had a tendency to run straight into or over any defender with the misfortune to get in his way. When at the peak of his playing ability, he defeated up to five players on the way to the tryline.

The All Blacks also played an epic World Cup final match at Ellis Park against the Springboks, but despite his efforts, Lomu has never scored a try against that team.

1999 World Cup
In 1999, he scored eight tries at the Rugby World Cup. He again played one of his finest matches in pool play against England (ref: [2]). Through his career, Lomu has scored 8 tries against England ââ'¬â€ more than any other All Black. Lomu also holds an unbeaten record of 20 tries in World Cup tournaments.

Bledisloe Cup
In 2000, Lomu starred in one of the most spectacular Bledisloe Cup matches ever , "brushing off the Australian backs like flies" to set up an early try. Later in the match, he "brushed past a desperate Stephen Larkham to tip-toe down the line and score the winning try".

Lomu first came to international attention at the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament, as part of a fearsome team including Lomu, Eric Rush, and Christian Cullen.

At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur he won a gold medal representing New Zealand in the Sevens Rugby event.

Lomu also led the New Zealand Sevens team to victory at the 2001 Sevens World Cup, filling in for Rush, who suffered a broken leg during the competition.

NZ Provincial sides
Apart from Counties, Lomu played for several provincial teams, in the NPC and Super 12 competitions. These included the Auckland Blues, Waikato Chiefs, and later the Wellington Lions and Hurricanes.

Health issues
At the end of 1996 Lomu was diagnosed as having nephrotic syndrome, a rare and serious kidney disorder. His rugby union career went on hold whilst the disorder was treated.

In May 2003, the NZRFU announced that Lomu had been put on dialysis three times a week due to deterioration in his kidney function.

Side effects of Lomu's dialysis treatment led to severe nerve damage in his feet and legs; his doctors warned him that he faced life in a wheelchair if a kidney transplant was not performed soon.

Late in March 2004, Lomu was quoted by a Hong Kong newspaper to the effect that a suitable live kidney donor had been found, and that he would have transplant surgery sometime during 2004. However, the former All Blacks team physician who is overseeing Lomu's treatment quickly denied the report. Nonetheless, at the end of July 2004 it was reported that Lomu had indeed undergone a kidney transplant on Tuesday, July 28, in Auckland, New Zealand. The kidney was in fact donated by Wellington radio presenter Grant Kereama. Lomu soon announced his intention to train for his rugby union renaissance in June 2005.

Off the field
Early in his career, Jonah endeared himself to his fans by spending time signing autographs after provincial matches, for all children brave enough to approach him.

In 1995 Lomu won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (Overseas Personality) Award. Lomu spent a few off-seasons commentating in England, where rugby union fans treat him like royalty.

For most of his professional career he was managed by raconteur Phil Kingsley-Jones, until 2004.

Lomu married South African Tanya Rutter in 1996, but in 1998 they separated. On August 21, 2003, Lomu married Fiona Taylor on Waiheke Island.

Comeback quest

After his successful kidney transplant, Lomu has devoted himself to training, and is aiming to play for the All Blacks in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. In January 2005 he announced his intentions to lead a team against Martin Johnson's invitational XV on June 4, 2005, at Twickenham.

He scored a try in the first half of the Johnson testimonial, but injured his shoulder in the process and did not return for the second half, dampening an otherwise encouraging first appearance. As it turned out, his injury was more serious than originally thought; he underwent surgery on the shoulder that caused him to miss the 2005 NPC season.

Before returning to professional rugby, Jonah needed special clearance from the World Anti-Doping Agency, as one of the anti-rejection drugs he must take is on the WADA list of banned substances. On April 8, 2005, he signed a two-year contract to play for the New Zealand first division provincial team North Harbour in the NPC. On the 9th August 2005 he accepted a coaching position at North Harbour . Lomu and North Harbour agreed to allow him to play overseas during the NPC offseason, and he signed with the Cardiff Blues of the Celtic League and will begin play in Wales in December 2005. Lomu will return to North Harbour for the 2006 NPC season.

Jonah Lomu in full Cardiff Blues kit Lomu made his first appearance in a competitive match since his transplant on December 10, 2005, in Cardiff's Heineken Cup fixture at Calvisano (Italy). He started and played 60 minutes. Although he did not score, he made a key line break that led to Cardiff's first try in their 25-10 win.

One week later he made his home debut for Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park and played for the whole match. Again, he did not get onto the scoresheet but his presence was enough to create space for other players to score in a 43-16 win over Calvisano. In front of a record home crowd, Lomu scored his first try for Cardiff on December 27, 2005, with a man-of-the-match performance during a Celtic League 41-23 win against the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Original nomination by THE CHIROPRACTOR101

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