If there’s anyone that will not have gone gently into that good night – it’s Jonah Lomu.
In fact, I reckon he probably made a few big fend-offs and surprisingly agile side-steps on the way…
RIP big man!
Well the opening match between the hosts and Tonga went pretty much as expected, but it was not the pasting that most were expecting and All Black’s coach Graham Henry rated his team’s performance a disappointing 5 out of 10 and only marginally better than Sex and the City 2.
Henry has a few selection quandaries for upcoming matches with ‘hot off the bench-press’ Sonny Bill Williams dazzling the Tongans with his complicated tattoos and single-handed layoffs….in fact I lost count of how many times the commentator used the words ‘layoff’ and Sonny Bill Williams in the same sentence and I started to suspect him of merely enjoying saying the Inside centre’s catchy name.
Let’s be honest, it is pretty fun to say….Sonny Bill Williams….give it go and tell me it doesn’t instantly make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Call me cynic, but I found the opening ceremony pretty underwhelming. Seeing Jonah Lomu gyrating to the ‘World in Union’ anthem (in what I can only imagine to be an attempt at dancing) was up there with ‘walking in on your parents’ on the awkwardness scale. I bet Sonny Bill Williams could show him a thing or two.
If you missed the ceremony and match…no need to fret…as BDR has compiled a special highlights package that can be seen below. And before you ask…yes, it’s mostly clips of Sonny Bill Williams.
When Jonah Lomu first made an appearance on the world rugby stage – they had to rebuild it with steel reinforced concrete – such was the size of the man. Some say that widescreen TV was invented just so that we could see more than his flexed bicep in one shot. There’s even a rumour that along with the Great Wall of China Jonah is the only ‘man made’ feature visible from space – in which case the astronauts on the Mir space station must have enjoyed watching him storm on to the scene in 1994, becoming the first truly worldwide rugby superstar.
He left an indelible mark on the 1995 World Cup, not to mention the one on Mike Catt’s face when he used it as a doormat on the way to scoring four tries in the semi-final against England. This might have led to England Captain Will Carling’s famous description of him as ‘a freak…and the sooner he goes away the better.’ His words – not mine.
So where is the big man now? Well luckily there’s no whale big enough to swallow this Jonah and his disappearance is down to the fact that he retired from rugby in 2007 – though returned to the game to play for a French club in 2009. He’s even turned his hand to amateur bodybuilding, having won a competition in Wellington by eating his opponents whole and using their bones to pick his teeth. He is also set to play an ambassadorial role for the All Blacks in this year’s world cup. We can only assume this will involve being part of the welcoming committee for the England team. Jonah needs his boots cleaned.