The Visa Rugby Legends, Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), John Eales (Australia), Martin Jonhson (England), Philippe Sella (France), and Joel Stransky (South Africa) spoke about the power and pace that made Lomu a remarkable player. According to fellow All Black Zinzan Brooke, who played with Jonah at the Rugby World Cup 1995, “Jonah’s performances were, simply put, just immense.” Lomu burst on to the international rugby stage at Rugby World Cup 1995 in South Africa. The ease with which he decimated defences as he charged his way to the try line has made a lasting impact not only on Rugby World Cup, but the sport as a whole. Following the tournament, fans and players agreed that rugby had its first global superstar.
His efforts in the Rugby World Cup 1995 semi-final against England provided the viewing public with an iconic Lomu episode. In a game in which he rampaged through England’s back line defense and scored four tries. Lomu captured the imagination of rugby fans worldwide and was catapulated into the global limelight. Rugby World Cup 2003 winnin captain Martin Johnson, who faced Jonah in that moneumental game said, “Jonah was just so impressive and powerful and just unstoppable.”
Following New Zealand’s semi-final success they face South Africa in the final, Visa Rugby Legend Joel Stransky, who kicked South Africa to victory in the 2005 final, recognized that while Lomu is renowned for his physical presence on the pitch, his impact off it was just as significant. “Jonah single-handedly destroyed teams and is undoubtedly the single player who has grown the profile of the game the most and on the broadest scale.” Joel commented.
French rugby legend Philippe Sella remembers Lomu’s performances in the Rugby World 1999 Cup in Wales. In the semi-final against France Jonah Lomu gave another demonstration of his power and pace scoring two tires. Remembering that match, Philippe noted that, “Jonah’s ability in the 1999 semi-final was unbelievable; for his first try he powered through France’s defence beating eight players!”
Jonah Lomu won 63 All Black caps and scored 37 tires for New Zealand, and still leads holding the record for the Rugby World Cup standings for the most tries in the tournament’s history. Lomu was presented in 2003 with the International Rugby Players Association’s Special Merit Award for his contribution to the international game.
According to two-time Rugby World Cup winner Wallaby John Eales, “No player before or since has so dominated an opposition’s game plan preparation, Jonah was that good.”