`I am hoping not to come across him again. He's a freak - and the sooner he goes away the better'

Most people in the England camp felt they were beaten by one man. Owen Slot reports

As England reflected on their crushing defeat by the All Blacks in yesterday's World Cup semi-final, one man dominated their thinking. Jonah Lomu may have needed his 14 team-mates to score his four tries, but the way Will Carling's men saw it they were beaten by No 11 alone.

Carling himself set the tone as he was interviewed in the immediate aftermath of the final whistle. Looking somewhat dazed, he smiled a little ruefully and said, "I am hoping not to come across him again. He's a freak - and the sooner he goes away the better."

Carling paid tribute to the All Blacks' all-round performance, but made it clear that Lomu had been the outstanding threat. "New Zealand have all the traditional strengths of an All Blacks side, and they are very disciplined as well as being a very fast and very dynamic team. But when you have someone on your left wing like Lomu, then it gives you an enormous advantage.

"Without being funny, if New Zealand didn't have him then the game could have been very different. Today the All Blacks played amazing rugby, but the real difference appeared out on their left wing.

"We tried to stop him but we couldn't and that's very sad for us. But the man is unbelievable. He's very balanced, has that incredible power and anyone coming on to the ball like he did is almost impossible to stop. He's an amazing athlete. When he's coming on to the ball like he did, I don't think there are many people who could stop him."

Jack Rowell, the England coach, agreed with his skipper. "New Zealand have a phenomenon on the wing," he said. "Someone from rugby league should have bought him before the World Cup started!"

"If you take Lomu out of the equation, things could have been very different. There were 16 points between us at the end and Lomu scored 20 for New Zealand.

"The New Zealanders have a lot of the Western Samoan-type strengths in their back line, and we saw in our group matches how dangerous their runners can be. Allied to that there is the traditional strengths of the All Black forwards and that is quite a combination. But Mr Lomu does have a big influence on the game.

"We got ourselves used to the pace of the game in the second half and it was more of a match then, especially as we were making our first up- tackles."

Rory Underwood, who watched his brother have to cope with much of Lomu's breaks from the relative safety of the other wing, said: "I have never seen anything like that before. He had a tremendous game and as a team we are disappointed that we didn't stop him. We set out to tackle him but we couldn't bring him down."

The New Zealand camp, only too well aware of the importance of Lomu to their World Cup ambitions, guard Lomu with an extraordinary paranoia. He has been shielded from the press in the manner of Ryan Giggs, and even after yesterday's triumph was not allowed to talk to reporters. They are also all too aware that Saturday's final may be his last game of rugby union.

"I'm sure that our prime minister will put the crown jewels up for sale to keep him in the game," said Laurie Mains, the All Blacks coach.

Before the game there was much talk about Lomu being weak in defence, but yesterday England barely tested him. When they did, he generally acquitted himself impressively, repeatedly dispatching Tony Underwood into touch by his jersey.

After one such manouevre Lomu, perhaps responding to the criticisms of his defensive capabilities, appeared intent on making a point to Underwood. England did try to find the space behind Lomu, but when they did he defied predictions and turned quickly to deal with the threat.

Would Ian Hunter have done any better than Tony Underwood? It seems unlikely. No wing in the World Cup has yet come close to it. On Saturday, it will be James Small's turn, and who in the world would envy him?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?