It was with utter shock, dismay and great sorrow I learnt from my wife about the passing of the great Jonah Lomu.
New Zealand and World Rugby have lost a true champion.
It is a very rare few who are simply known across the world by their first name.
‘Jonah’ – forever synonymous with rugby and with true greatness.
He has left an indelible mark on New Zealand and sporting history forever.
To our friends in New Zealand we offer our heartfelt condolences and pay tribute to an icon of our sport.
We have lost an invaluable member of the rugby family and I have no doubt that all rugby lovers are in mourning.
Jonah represented all that is great in rugby. On the field his physical prowess was unmatched, as he trampled all before him.
To watch him run was a privilege as he cut a swathe through all the international rugby teams of the world. My God, what you wouldn’t do to have him in your side!
New Zealand was fortunate in having that honour.
To use a word from the current generation – he was simply awesome.
Off the field he was dedicated to his wife and two little boys. While sadly he will not see them turn 21 as was his often stated wish, I have no doubt he will be there in spirit when the time comes. His sons can be immensely proud of their dad, who expressed humility and gratefulness whether his team won or lost and despite every accolade earned.
On behalf of all rugby lovers, of whatever colour, creed or nation, we offer the Lomu family our thoughts and prayers in this terribly difficult time.
One can only hope there is an afterlife of some sort and that new and exciting worlds have opened to a reinvigorated Jonah, free of all illness, disease and ailments.
And if rugby is truly the game they play in heaven – God help the opposition.
Goodbye Jonah – thank you for your services to New Zealand and World Rugby.
You have made our game better than when you found it.
We are all the lesser by your absence.
You are the Muhammad Ali of rugby – simply the greatest.