`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
Monday 19 June 1995
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?
Latest in Sport
David De Gea latest: Louis van Gaal wants goalkeeper sold to Real Madrid so Jasper Cillessen can be signed before Saturday
UFC 190 Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correia: What time does it start and where can I watch it, plus Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Arsenal vs Chelsea - Community Shield 2015: Mesut Ozil can prove his greatness at last, says Arsene Wenger
Manchester United and Adidas branded 'sexist' and 'discriminatory' as women's shirt features plunging neckline and different design
Arsenal vs Chelsea - Community Shield 2015: 'We are our own biggest threat,' says Cesc Fabregas
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 3 It won’t work, Jeremy: The Health Secretary has lost the confidence of the medical profession in his attempt to reform the NHS
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...