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.