20 years on from the most important moment in his career, Jonah Lomu is still global rugby’s first true superstar. Jonah took the world by storm in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semi-final, smashing England with a 4-try steamroll, despite being anaemic, exhausted, and suffering from kidney disease. The most recognisable All Black ever and one of the most iconic rugby players of all time, he went down in history during South Africa’s Rugby World Cup, and still remains the legend of international rugby.
At his peak, Lomu was considered rugby’s biggest draw-card – and sure enough, his appearance at a match would ensure hundreds upon hundreds of extra attendees. But despite the fame, his emphasis was always the spirit of the game and its power to unite. Today, Jonah is a Rugby World Cup ambassador, and a member of ‘Champions for Peace’, an international club promoting peace through sport. Questioned about the All Black’s 1995 loss to the host Springboks, he recalls that while he would have given his right arm to win the trophy, the force of the All Black’s passion and love, and the way it was channeled through rugby, was the real legacy of the game – “People remember it as how rugby changed a nation.”
“Anger Within” is an intimate portrayal of New Zealand’s gentle giant, featuring epic footage of the All Blacks match against England, and interviews and behind the scenes footage of his personal life. A gentle, humble and deeply religious Polynesian family man who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Auckland – Jonah Lomu will always be rugby’s hero.
Sunday’s game will be a replay of the previous encounters with the irrepressible French who are the All Black’s nemesis on the world’s biggest stage. To this day, the All Blacks have never won a World Cup away from home. But #RWC2015 is their best chance to win two trophies in a row. Of Sunday’s quarter final, Jonah says “Mate, I’ve got no idea who’ll win. The World Cup is completely different to Test matches. Someone could fall ill. Players can get injured. So many variables. You need a bit of luck. And a kicker.”
Well, we’ll just have to wait until Sunday then.
Watch “Anger Within: Jonah Lomu” here.