Never would I ever thought a single person could shred my heart into a gazillion pieces, pieces that could never be put back together fully! To this very day, 5 years ago that’s exactly what happened....Jonah, you tore my world apart with your departure to the point I struggled to breathe 💔 ....I know you’d give anything to be here with your boys and I right now, as I would too...just one last anything 😢, everything you ever wanted for us and more, all that we were working for together! 😢.....there’s not a moment that I don’t wish you were still here. I feel sick, I’d rather sleep the entire day away and wake up the next morning just to get through but I can’t, I can’t because your boys need me to be their pillar of strength, they need me to smile even though my insides are hurting and crushed beyond repair. 💔🖤💔 In my moments of weakness you are my strength, I hear you, I feel you and I know you are watching over us and you still walk by my side! I will always stand to be your voice for what you wanted and believed in but most of all, I stand with your strength to be the best I can be for your boys like you asked me too, no matter what, no matter who thinks they know better....
I will always love you Jonah, my heart will always be yours and our boys will always be my everything in this life and the next, till FOREVER. Yours truly. 🥀 - Nadene Lomu
It takes a lot to leave rugby motormouth Keith Quinn speechless and just as much to put a smile on the face of Laurie Mains.
Jonah Lomu achieved both with what remains the greatest individual performance the Rugby World Cup has seen.
Lomu's barging run over the top of England fullback in the 1995 World Cup semifinal in Cape Town was so outrageous that classy Kiwi TV commentator Quinn was literally lost for words as the unbelievable unfolded in front of him.
Then I witnessed Lomu achieve something I'd never seen before – he had his All Blacks coach Mains actually smiling.
From the comfort of the media benches at the Newlands ground I watched history unfold in front of me as a baby-faced Lomu shredded England with the signature performance of his outstanding career.
Mains was seated not far away. After Lomu scored the fourth of his remarkable tries on that historic day, I turned to see what Laurie's reaction was.
He was beaming. The normal furrows had gone, his face alight with a huge smile. Mains knew he and his team were heading to the final.
But he also knew he had someone truly special in his ranks. Like everyone at the ground, he was incredulous at the deeds of the hulking man in the black No 11 jersey.
It took a lot to make Laurie Mains smile. He was a hard taskmaster, an earnest coach, firm but fair, totally dedicated to his teams and a quest for success.
Fairly or unfairly, some of us media had dubbed him "Funeral Face" but his face was joyful as his team buried England.
Mains took charge of the All Blacks at a dark time, when they were emerging from their 1991 World Cup semifinal defeat. Slowly but surely he transformed them. While his crowning glory sadly wasn't the 1995 world title, he did oversee the belated emergence of a flowing style of rugby that had Lomu providing the exclamation marks.
Lomu's notorious training struggles certainly didn't endear him to his coach. At that point no one knew of Lomu’s struggles with his illness aside from his doctor. Despite his medical condition, he never gave up!
Lomu persisted, fighting extra hard with his fitness during the buildup camps to convince Mains he was worthy of a chance on the sport's biggest stage.
Lomu's next test was the World Cup opener against Ireland in Johannesburg, where he scored his first two test tries.
He was under way with bigger things to come.
Laurie was laughing – he and Lomsmiles were appearing on more than the All Blacks and their fans.
Lomu was one of those rare sporting icons who had the ability to cheer people from any nationality and any walk of life.
His Cape Town capers were the stuff of dreams for the faithful band of coloured supporters living there, who would rather back Lomu than the Springboks.
Former England winger saw up close Lomu's devastating impact in unforgettable 1995 RWC semi-final
When Jonah Lomu charged at you at full pelt, there often wasn’t much you could do to stop him – as England found out to our cost in that memorable semi-final in the 1995 World Cup.
Lomu was the fiercest of opponents. His speed, once he got going, his sheer size and the length of his stride meant that he was a difficult man to bring down.
A player who in that match swatted my brother Tony off “like a fly”, as one commentator put it, before storming through attempted tackles by Will Carling and Mike Catt was always going to be remembered by those who love rugby for a long time after the final whistle blew.
Yet Lomu, who has died so tragically young at the age of 40, leaving behind a wife and two young sons, was not just a big guy who ran fast. He was both of those things on the pitch, yes, but he was also supremely skillful. It was this combination – his power and his technical mastery – that made him stand out in the sport.
At the time, I didn’t really take it on board: there were 14 other All Blacks on the pitch that day. Amid all the running and tackling, he just seemed to keep reaching the try line – again and again.
Overall it wasn’t even as if England played that badly – Will Carling and I scored two tries apiece in the second half – but the truth is we had been thumped in the first 20 minutes. Lomu matched us both with four tries of his own.
Looking back on that match, particularly watching replays of his tries, and seeing him steamroller over a few players who got in his way, you could argue that he was ahead of his time by five or 10 years.
Here was a great professional athlete playing right at the end of rugby’s amateur era. His opponents simply weren’t ready for that level of athletic ability.
There was also the crucial matter of timing. The 1995 World Cup was such a key moment for rugby. It was the first World Cup to involve the Springboks and the fact that South Africa hosted it, with Nelson Mandela’s full and public support, ensured that the eyes of the world were on the tournament.
It was at this moment that Jonah Lomu ran on to the stage with a performance that for me had the biggest impact of any player on any Rugby World Cup. It was a performance that helped to usher in the professional era. What a tragedy it was that his career would be cut short by his medical problems.
Lomu was unstoppable on that memorable day in South Africa
Importantly, away from the pitch Jonah was among the kindest and most respectful people you could hope to meet. I had the utmost admiration for him, and we shared the mutual respect of former opponents. In 2007 I flew to New Zealand to appear in an episode of This is Your Life that paid tribute to him.
I was proud to be a part of that small tribute to a fine human being – and am proud now, when I look back on it, to have played against one of the All Blacks’ greats. - Rory Underwood (Telegraph UK).
Thank you Rory for the tribute interview you did for our Jonah with the Telegraph.
Easter....a time of year some may celebrate and others may not however on behalf of Jonah's wife Nadene and their sons Brayley and Dhyreille, they would like to wish each of you their great global fan family a very Happy Easter and a safe weekend to you and your loved ones...
#FlyHighDaddy #TheJonahLomuFamily #JonahsWorld (made by Brayley)
Among the endless global tributes received, Nadene Lomu, wife and global brand manager of Jonah continues to give thanks in appreciation and gratitude for all the support and kindness sent to her and Jonah's little boys.
This was sent in from a great fan family member and in honour of Jonah we are privileged to share it in memory and celebration of the great humble giant Jonah Lomu will always be recognised for both on and off the field. A boy whom transcended rugby into the great game it is today, an icon, an inspiration in overcoming all challenges life threw at him from a young boy, to then turn his life around and becoming the worlds first True Global Superstar, that's our JONAH.
In asking Shane to share his story behind the number 11 tatt, he said, "when I started playin I was 5 and absolutely loved the sport. Especially with it being in my blood as my father is Maori and my mother Welsh so I had no choice really haha. I used to say to my dad, who's that big guy number 11 for the all blacks dad?" he said, "son that's a God sent to destroy anyone in his path" and I grew up saying is the number 11 God playing.
"I religiously watched Jonah every chance I could get and always wanted to play like him, to become what he had become, the most dangerous fantastic player that ever lived. I even shaved my hair exactly the same with a little tufts at the front, I also had the amazing chance of playing against him when he came to Wrexham north Wales, wow that hurt ha ha . Jonah has been an inspiration to me and many others and I say thank you Jonah, for my memories and thank you for making me want to play rugby, I will miss you my idol and will always look up to you as my "GOD" rest in peace Jonah love Shane. Number 1 fan .
Recently New Zealand lost one if its great totara trees, Jonah Lomu. A global superstar, a rugby pioneer and legend who brought joy and excitement not only to those who watched him, but all the lives he touched with his generosity.
As the family went into mourning the country and the rest of the world took time to remember a great New Zealander who helped pioneer the game into what it is today.
Jonah was a private person, who was so generous to others that he did not always think of the consequences to himself or his family and in the past week we saw some of that in the media.
There are two young boys that have been left without their Daddy (a term Brayley and Dhyreille used to refer to their father). Jonah was hoping to see them grow up and to guide them, along life’s path. The reality is that they no longer have that, however, they have not been left without a mother, and she is still here, and will continue to support them financially and emotionally. She is lucky enough to have two loving parents Merv and Lois to support her and their grandchildren as well as Jonah’s family. They are also blessed to have the best interests and support from so many New Zealanders which they are extremely grateful for. Nadene is not ready to speak publically yet while they are still coming to terms with the great loss of Jonah and life without him at their side. When she is ready she will make a further statement, but for now, would like to express her sincere appreciation to all of New Zealand, as well as Jonah’s vast group of supporters abroad, for the love and support that they have expressed to the family over the past number of weeks since Jonah’s death.
Nadene says “Thank you to New Zealand and the world for the support and love you have shown both my sons Brayley and Dhyreille on the passing of their Daddy. While this is a hard time for us, I am grateful for the support from all of you that have over the last week spared a thought for our family. On behalf of not just me, but Brayley and Dhyreille, I would like to thank those in the media that have given us space and time as a family to grieve. To the vans and cameras that have sat outside our family home last week and specifically the stories that have been written about us, I would ask for you to respect our privacy through the holiday period as Brayley and Dhyreille get ready to head into Christmas for the first time without their Daddy. This is a very difficult time for us, and we appreciate your support and love as well as consideration to let us all adjust to this new chapter in our lives.” “I would also like to thank the New Zealand Rugby Players Union, who independently and of their own initiative established a Trust to benefit our sons. This was done independent of my involvement and I am grateful that the boys will have that support growing up without their Daddy in their lives. The trust is there for the boys and I have every confidence the Trustees, who will administer the Trust, will do so in the best interest of our sons.”
”On behalf of our sons I am very grateful that people who have been touched through Jonah’s life have wanted to give so generously to the trust that has been established for Brayley and Dhyreille. I will continue to work hard, as every other good mother in this country does, to provide them with the best upbringing possible.”
“Once again thank you so much for your love and support, have a safe and happy Christmas with your family these holidays and enjoy every moment you can with your loved ones, you never know how long you have them with you.”
The family will answer more questions in the New Year, but for now want to focus their time with Brayley and Dhyreille to help them through the Festive season without their hero and Daddy, Jonah. - Jevan Goulter
Over the past few weeks, I have been touched deeply by the kindness, sympathy and love that people – many of you complete strangers – have shown me and our sons.
The beautiful stories and memories of Jonah that many people have shared, and continue to share all over the world, has given us much comfort at this still very sad time. Our lives will never be the same, but we are strengthened by the love you have all shown. To those who left a message in a condolence book, to those who posted on social media, and to those who left home-picked flowers at our gate – thank you. Nadene Lomu