Yorkshire Carnegie Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has paid tribute to All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, who sadly passed away in Auckland on Tuesday.
Hetherington was a huge admirer of the New Zealand winger and famously tried to sign him whilst he was CEO at Sheffield Eagles back in 1995 and later tried to bring him to Leeds in 1999 and again in 2001 to play both codes of rugby.
Speaking about Lomu, Hetherington said: “The history of sport includes legendary players who made a dramatic and lasting impression and Jonah Lomu is certainly on that list He was a proper giant of the sport. His explosive power and pace thrilled the fans and scarred his opponents in equal measure."
Lomu will be remembered as one of the greatest players ever to have worn the All Blacks shirt and one of the superstars of the game. He made his international debut against France in 1994, aged 19 years and 45 days and a year later grabbed the headlines during a sensational World Cup in South Africa, which saw him score seven tries, including one of the most memorable tries in World Cup history against England. He won 63 caps and scored 37 tries between 1994 and 2002 and was unlucky not to have more, with illness keeping him out of the game for long periods.
He played for a number of teams in New Zealand including the Chiefs and the Hurricanes and also made 10 appearances for Cardiff Blues in Wales between 2005 and 2006, and played at Headingley Carnegie in 2006 against Leeds Tykes in the Heineken Cup.
Although he never won the World Cup, he is the joint top try-scorer in the competition’s history, alongside South Africa wing Bryan Habana, scoring 15 tries in 11 games.
Jonah Lomu, died in Auckland on Tuesday, aged 40. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
RIP Jonah Lomu