Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 20th 2015 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, November 20, 2015
WELLINGTON---The worshippers gathered at the
Lotofale ia Mangere Tongan Church in the South
Auckland suburb where Jonah Lomu was raised
grieved for the man who put their community on
the international map as he strode or barged his
way to becoming the first genuinely global super
star of rugby.
New Zealand will consider a state funeral for the
legendary All Blacks winger whose death from a
cardiac arrest Wednesday, aged 40, was mourned
from world capitals to his family village on the Pacific
island of Tonga and across the country in which he
grew up and represented with distinction.
Lomu came from humble beginnings---the son of
Tongan immigrants who worked several jobs to allow
him to attend Wesley College boarding school where
he first played rugby in New Zealand's biggest city.
Assistant parish secretary Soana Muimuiheata said
Lomu "made the world take notice" of Pacific island
"He kind of opened up the door for the Pacific
Islanders," she said. "So he did a lot, not just for
Tongans but as well for the Pacfic and New Zealan"
Members of Lomu's family on Tonga reportedly
were traveling from outer islands to the village of
Holopeka for a traditional 10-day period of mourning.
Many villagers have already donned ta'ovala or cer-
emonial mourning clothes.
The governor of the Ha'apai island group, Mo'ale
Finau, said villagers were deeply saddened "because
it's the loss of a superstar, especially because Jonah
has grown up here.
"This is sad, not only for Ha'apai but for all the
people of Tonga as well. The whole village will be
mourning. Some of the people are wearing black
Finau said he believed Lomu, who lived in Tonga
until age five, would be buried in New Zealand.
Lomu died at his Auckland home the day after
returning from Europe, where he attended the Rugby
World Cup and was well enough to participate in
a Haka in downtown London in September to help
promote the tournament.
Lomu was the undisputed star of the 1995 and
'99 Rugby World Cups, despite never winning the
title. The way he combined his size, strength and
speed, though, changed the way players, fans and
coaches perceived the game.
In New Zealand, Australia, Britain, France and
South Africa and other parts of the rugby world
where he remained one of the sport's most famous
names a decade after kidney illness forced his retire-
ment from the game, Lomu was remembered not
just for his prowess but his kindness and humili-
ty.Sean Fitzpatrick, who was the All Blacks captain
at the 95 World Cup when Lomu surged to inter-
national fame as a 20-year-old winger, remembered
first seeing him play. He combined the size of a
front-row forward---1.96 meters tall (6-foot-4); 119
kilograms (262 pounds)---with the speed of a sprint
Fitzpatrick said no rugby player could match
Lomu's international stardom.
Lomu's fame exploded when he scored four tries
for the All Blacks against England at the 95 World
Cup in South Africa. The first of those tries was the
most famous of his career---he scored 43 tries in 63
tests---when he trampled over England fullback Mike
Catt on the way to the tryline.
That incident left Lomu and Catt's careers inex-
Catt said Lomu "put me on the map. Everybody
knew who Mike Catt was. For all the wrong reasons,
WELLINGTON---All Blacks captain Richie
McCaw made it official: He s retiring from all
rugby after a record 148 Test matches across
a 15-year international career capped with
back-to-back World Cup titles.
McCaw used a news conference broadcast
live in New Zealand yesterday to confirm his
retirement, but the anticipated decision was
partly overshadowed by the sudden death a day
earlier of legendary All Blacks winger Jonah
A resilient backrower, McCaw became inter-
national rugby's most-capped player this year
when he surpassed the mark of 141 test appear-
ances held by retired Ireland captain Brian
He led New Zealand to victory at the 2011
World Cup in New Zealand, and again in Britain
last month when the All Blacks became the first
team to successfully defend the title.
McCaw was also the first captain to lead his
country in 100 Tests. New Zealand won 89 per
cent of the tests in which he played and more
than 90 per cent of those he played as captain.
Now 34, McCaw had indicated he would likely
retire after the World Cup final last month,
when New Zealand beat Australia, but in the
euphoria of that moment---when the All Blacks
also became the first team to win the Cup three
times---McCaw was reluctant to make the final
"Deep down I suppose I didn't want to shut
the door totally," McCaw said. "I didn't want
to make it final because I was worried that the
emotion might get to me in a World Cup year."
All Blacks captain
Rugby mourns death
of superstar Lomu
Lomu's performances in 95 hurried
rugby toward professionalism. Broad-
casters, recognising his popularity and
impact on the game, rushed to secure
broadcasting rights, pouring hundreds
of millions of dollars into the sport to
make players payments possible.
In this June 18, 1995 file photo, New Zealand All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu runs
around England's Will Carling on his way to score the opening try in the Rugby
World Cup semifinal at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa. Lomu, whose power
and pace revolutionised rugby and whose humility and grace won millions of fans,
died early Wednesday, New Zealand Rugby said. He was 40. AP PHOTO
Links Archive November 19th 2015 November 21st 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page