News24

Lomu 'stronger than ever'

2009-10-28 12:20

Tokyo - Former New Zealand international Jonah Lomu, once the most feared man in world rugby, says he is in the best shape ever before his long-awaited comeback.

The 34-year-old, who played 63 Tests for the All Blacks between 1994 and 2002 before his career was cut short by kidney disease, is set to return next month for French amateur side Marseille-Vitrolles.

"I'm stronger than I've ever been," Lomu said on Wednesday after being unveiled by Japanese rugby officials as an ambassador for the 2019 World Cup.

"I'm running the 100 metres in 10.9, but I'm even more surprised by what I'm doing in weights. I can dead-lift 300kg with my eyes closed.

"I am beating my previous (best) by a country mile. I'm in the best physical condition ever.

"I genuinely want to earn my spot at Marseille, but I could play as early as November," added Lomu, who signed a three-year deal with the French club last month.

"It just depends how quickly I can click with the players."

A bulldozing winger, Lomu's colossal performances at the World Cup in 1995 took rugby to a new level, highlighted by his four tries against England in the semi-final.

"When I play at my peak I get into a different zone," said Lomu, who literally ran over England fullback Mike Catt for one of his scores in that match in Cape Town.

"I become a completely different person. I can't really explain it. I'm so focused on what I have to do, you could be talking to me but you'd have to slap me to get my attention.

"It's almost like you're running, but you're watching yourself while you're running -- like an outer body experience," continued Lomu, in Tokyo to watch Saturday's Bledisloe Cup.

"When you get to that sort of clarity in your mind and your mind is at peace and your soul is at peace with your body and all is in sync, it becomes a completely different experience.

"I'm a very spiritual person," said Lomu. "I have faith in what I can do. It's irrelevant what anyone else thinks or says.

"I do what I've got to do to get to where I need to get. You do see Mike Catt in front of you... but that's what rugby is all about. It's not tiddlywinks.

"If someone is in front of you and you have to go over the top of them that's the way the game goes."

Lomu, who has his beloved All Blacks jersey number 11 tattooed on his chest, had a kidney transplant in 2004 and his weight ballooned to 142 kilos while he was away from rugby.

"In 1999 I was 118 kilos. I'm 116 now," said the giant New Zealander, who attempted a comeback with Cardiff Blues and North Harbour before retiring from rugby in 2007.

"I've put in a lot of hard yards. But the proof is in the pudding when I actually play."

Lomu, who has flirted with bodybuilding on his return to fitness, has not ruled out playing for the All Blacks again in the future.

"That is still a dream," he insisted, having swapped his muscleman tanning lotion for a pinstripe suit. "You never lose the desire to play for your country.

"If they rang me up tomorrow and said we need a player, hey, I brought my boots with me!"

Reuters

Comments
  • Theuns - 2009-10-28 12:30

    AWESOME!!! I always felt he had some unfinished business in rugby. Would be great to have him back for rugby's sake - he had an enormous impact on the game back in 1995, and would be excellent to see him in action again. Hope he can get his standard up there to be in contention for some national selectors, be it for NZ or who ever! Respek jou YSTER!!

  • Ron - 2009-10-28 12:35

    sounds like an ex boxer trying to make a come back to earn a few bucks.Sorry mate your time is over.

  • Badbones - 2009-10-28 12:46

    He is going to get hurt, the youngsters are going to bend him on the rugby field .... he is a "old man" when it comes to rugby ...... but good luck any way ......

  • JG - 2009-10-28 13:12

    Now now gramps. There's bowls, chess, jukskei etc etc

  • Gary - 2009-10-28 13:12

    You go boy - welcome back!!!! He was a pleasure to watch even though he is still yet to score a try against the Boks.....34 is not to old, some of our Currie Cup players are well beyond that, Os was 38 in the RWC 2007 Come play for the Lions - puleeeeeeze!!!!!

  • jethro - 2009-10-28 13:15

    Goerge Foreman also made a comeback in his 40's. He is a freak and would still be a very competive player even at 34

  • TracerZA - 2009-10-28 13:19

    perhaps he still wonders what it feels like to score a try against the Boks.... James Small and Henry Honiball didn't think much of the "bulldozer" in '95.....

  • William Shakespeare - 2009-10-28 13:23

    And he never scored a single try against the Boks. Not one.

  • Bulla - 2009-10-28 13:25

    If he can make a come-back, ...then so can Naas Botha and Joost vd Westhuyzen... He he he he ...!! ..He doesnt miss rugby, he misses the fame...

  • fuzzy - 2009-10-28 13:26

    i dont think he eveer managed to score a try against the bokke?

  • wes - 2009-10-28 13:38

    Uhm......... '95 is a whole bloddy 14 years ago.................. Os also had an impact in those days. So did Francois Pienaar and Andrew Merthens. We won't be seeing them on a rugby field anytime soon, except maybe in a golden oldie game..........Quit while you're ahead. Old legend. Emphysis on OLD!

  • Dude - 2009-10-28 13:39

    Remember you are not the biggest backline player anymore boet, running over people has become a little more difficult these days, but good Luck with that. (Are they going to drop Rokokokokokokoko now for you? dont think so) Always though he would have made a great outside centre....

  • Sharon - 2009-10-28 13:40

    An OLD MAN trying to make a comeback!!!!

  • junsau - 2009-10-28 13:46

    He never did score a single try against South Africa.

  • Blacks - 2009-10-28 14:02

    Why don't we respect the man for what he did to change the face of rugby, for the guts to come back after surgery - we must use people like this to motivate our children. He never did score against the Bokke, but while 7 players were busy tackling Jona, Cullen scored a bunch of tries on the other end, because there was nobody to tackle him.

  • Fezile - 2009-10-28 14:11

    Welcome back big boy. Good to hear that you could one day give it a go again- You were great in before your illness and you certainly would bring back some excitement. Wish you all the best.

  • Tebza - 2009-10-28 14:47

    At 34yrs weighing 116kg being able to run 100m in 10.9 sec. that's very impressive i must say!

  • AL - 2009-10-28 15:07

    "run 100m in 10.9" - thats ridicculously quick for someone that size. It would be awsome to see him back flattening the Pommies like he did.

  • Dave Hiscock - 2009-10-28 15:13

    Whao, deadlifting 300 kgs with his eyes closed?? Running the 100 m in under 11 secs while weighing over a 100 kgs? Jeez, thats a bit freaky, I would say! Welcome back big man, wish you all the best, but do realise that all the gym training won't make you match fit and the game has changed since you last donned a rugby jumper! But like I've said, good on ya and can't wait to see you in action!

  • Just Asking - 2009-10-28 15:49

    Will he be exempt from taking drug tests as he had a kidney transplant and will have to be taking cortesone as an anti rejection medication?

  • phil - 2009-10-28 16:11

    He's starting at the bottom (and amateur at that), so please do not slate him! We just need to remember that he spent a long time away from competitive rugby, so his body should hold up OK. I feel a bit sorry for the guys playing against him in the lower leagues. He was special and probably is still. He reminds me of Lance Armstrong's freakyness!

  • Fleckie - 2009-10-28 16:35

    The REAL BEAST is back, wat a man. HaHaha and they say in the new Sarugby that Craig Burden can dead lift 190kgs, haha eat ur heart out this man is a real freak of nature. Will be great to c him back in action. GO LOMU

  • ImpartialCanuck - 2009-10-28 17:34

    Was a great player, but it takes more than stats to play at an international level! Just wonder if his rugby skills match the speed and weight figures being quoted? Time will tell............. Bet he would like to flatten a few more England players!?

  • Boerseun - 2009-10-28 17:58

    Vrystaaaat !!!

  • Max - 2009-10-28 21:05

    Ag no man. Now they will have to take the Stormers cheque book away from Rassie. Please for the love of rugby, stay on the sideline. On the other hand, Boland is scouting the market for 30 somethings. Who knows?

  • Tommygun - 2009-10-29 03:40

    What do Bodybuilding, Lance Amstrong and Transplants have in common? Steroids. Jomo you were great but times have changed and you have aged your health comes first. You put fear into all your opponents except SA, we were your nemesis. Somebody help me here I think it was in a midweek game where he met the Bester Broers on the hard fields in Kimberly and the couch decided to pull him in case he got injured.

  • StuartW - 2009-10-29 07:52

    @ Bulla, what happened to Joost? Is he still in the country? If Lomu comes back and plays well, he will be difficult to stop at that size...

  • Fan - 2009-10-29 07:58

    If James Small could take him down imagine what Bakkies Botha would do to him.

  • Fleckie - 2009-10-29 10:25

    Fan Bakkies wouldn't do a thing to this man,he'l never catch him and even if he could Jonah would break him.Tommygun try getting this legends name right

  • SYDNEY - 2009-10-29 17:01

    BUT Christian Cullen SCORED 10

  • Tommygun - 2009-10-30 04:46

    Good on you Fleckie, missed that one. I will put it down to reading to much on Bafana lately; another big black guy trying to make a comeback. I dont know, the guys who threw Jomu around that day were half the size of Bakkies.

  • GIDEON - 2010-05-26 14:46

    J\L WAS GEENSINS SO WONDERLIK NIE GEEN TOETSDRIE TEEN DIE SPRINGBOKKE NIE SWAK VERDEDIGER SWAK ONDER DIE HOE BAL

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