New Zealand
Jonah Lomu -- the All Blacks legend's career in his own words
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2015
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies (Australia only)

Following the sad news of Jonah Lomu's death, ESPN and takes a look back at the New Zealander's dazzling career in his own words:

© Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT

July 16, 2000 - Lomu rates match-winning try as the most important of his career

Jonah Lomu's 29th Test try was one of his most important in his career, he said. With the All Blacks trailing Australia by a point with injury time looming, Lomu galloped 25 metres, brushing aside Wallaby fly-half Stephen Larkham in the process to secure victory.

"When things hang in the balance like that it's rated up there [with one of my best tries]," he said in his customary, understated way. 

"Taine [Randell] got the ball in a tricky situation but once I saw what he was going to do I just had to make sure I was deep enough for him to chuck it over. The rest was to try to get on the outside and use any way to get over," Lomu recalled. "I was screaming like anything to let him know where I was and gave him all the time to throw it over."

'Lomu was the Tiger Woods of Rugby'

January 25, 2001 - Lomu hungry for sevens glory

Lomu started to gain serious international attention at the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament, before becoming the youngest All Black Test player in 1994, making his debut aged just 19 years and 45 days old.

"It was my decision to come here," said Lomu, the star attraction of the 24-team Hong Kong event said in 2001. "I missed out four years ago because of my kidney illness. I was commentating in Hong Kong, and there were a lot of emotions when those games were on. 

"This is where it all starts for most New Zealanders. I was catapulted into the All Blacks squad from the sevens, so it means a lot to me.

"I've never won a World Cup and I'm pretty nervous about the weekend -- but I'm also looking forward to it. I have been training for this for the past one-and-a-half months."

Umaga shocked and devastated by Lomu death

August 10, 2001 - Victory more important than my milestone, All Blacks are priority over my future

Lomu was a humble character. His 50th Test appearance was of little significance to him as he preferred to focus on the team's victory, helping to further New Zealand's World Cup preparations

"It's a turning point for New Zealand because these are the players, hopefully, who will go through to the 2003 World Cup," Lomu said in reference to the then upcoming game against Australia in the 2001 Tri-Nations, when he reached to Test caps. "This will gauge us against the best in the world because the Wallabies are No.1. We will know how much we've grown as a team and how far we've come." 

He also proved his passion for playing rugby while a Hurricanes player.

"I play the game and leave the other stuff to my manager," said Lomu after speculation surrounding club versus Barbarians commitments. "We've had a few years of practice together and we've got it down to a tee now. I leave it to him until he's got something finalised, then he'll give me a ring and we'll talk about it.

"But he knows that once Test week comes around, nothing disturbs me until the game is over."

© Craig Prentis /Allsport

April 26, 2001 - Lomu was a proud Barbarian 

Despite putting the Barbarian's on hold during 2001 to establish his Super 12 future, he made it clear that playing for the Baa-baas was a huge achievement of his. 

"Last year, it was a great honour to fulfil one of my rugby ambitions in pulling on the Baa-baas shirt.

"To represent the Barbarian Club, which has so much history attached to it, has to be a lifetime ambition for any player.

"It also gives me the unique opportunity to play the attacking style of rugby the Barbarians are renowned for.''

© Ross Setford/Getty Images

July 8, 2003 - Lomu's dad concerned after illness diagnosis 

He was ready to risk a great deal for the All Blacks. 

"The World Cup is not worth his life," Lomu's father Semisi told a New Zealand newspaper. "He needs to turn his mind off rugby and World Cup and focus solely on getting better. He's thinking too far ahead."

© MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

November 19, 2003 - Lomu just wanted to play rugby 

"I'm one of the most passionate guys about New Zealand and about the All Blacks - I'll basically do anything for the jersey."

© (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

November 10, 2004 - Lomu targets 2005 return

He refused to give up on the dream of playing at the 2007 World Cup. 

"Everything is on target at the moment. I'm feeling great," he said. "I've been given the OK to get on with training. In terms of playing, I'm hoping that some time next year I'll be pulling on a jersey, though the long term goal is to pull on an All Blacks jersey again.

"My red blood cell count is still below normal, but it's a lot better than it used to be. I'm finding energy that I just didn't have before."

© Simon Bruty /Allsport

October 1, 2006 - Lomu concedes All Blacks dream is over

However, it all had to come to an end eventually: Lomu had to give up on his 2007 World Cup ambitions after failing to win a contract to play in Super 14.

"If I had my time over again, I wouldn't do anything differently," he said. "I wouldn't even change the kidney illness. It has made me a better person.

"I don't feel I've let anyone down. I've given it my all.

"It's been a failure in the sense I didn't make the All Blacks but I certainly didn't fail myself.

"I dared to dream. Who can criticise me for that?"

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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