Rugby

Lomu laid to rest at private funeral

2015-12-01 06:50
Jonah Lomu (Gallo)

Auckland - After sharing their grief with an entire nation for almost two weeks, All Black Jonah Lomu's family said their last goodbyes at a private funeral for the rugby legend in Auckland on Tuesday.

The Mormon ceremony was held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' in Mangere, the gritty south Auckland suburb where Lomu grew up.

His wife Nadene, flanked by sons Brayley, 6, and Dhyreille, 5, addressed mourners from an altar surrounded by pale roses.

The boys wore black shirts with the winger's number 11, the position their father revolutionised on his way to becoming rugby's first global superstar.

The low-key event on Tuesday was in contrast to the scenes of public grief less than 24 hours earlier, when thousands of fans attended a memorial at Eden Park, the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby.

There was also a memorial for the Pacific community to remember Lomu, who had Tongan roots, last Saturday, but Tuesday's funeral was a chance for extended family to say goodbye.

"It's bringing to the end a great celebration, the final stage of the journey for Jonah and his family," said former All Blacks coach John Hart, who has been acting as a spokesman for relatives since Lomu's shock death on November 18.

Since Lomu died tributes have poured in from across the rugby world, with many current players recalling how he inspired them to take up the game.

Such was his fame that condolences also came from beyond the sport, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, British footballer David Beckham, Hollywood star Morgan Freeman and singer Elton John.

Read more on:    jonah lomu  |  rugby
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