Ireland become Lomu's first victims

TIM GLOVER

reports from Johannesburg

New Zealand 43

Ireland 19

Ireland were prepared for New Zealand and they thought they were prepared for Jonah Lomu. "Of course we had a plan," Gerry Murphy, the coach, said. "It was to tackle him. Listen, Colin Meads doesn't know how to stop him and if he doesn't know, who does?"

The legendary Meads (he trained with a sheep under each arm, that sort of thing) is one of New Zealand's managers here and he was asked if he had ever seen a player quite like Lomu. "I've seen lots of people like him," Meads replied, "but they didn't play on the wing."

After the most sensational World Cup debut, Lomu, who was 20 two weeks ago, faced the press for the first time and sat, almost child-like on the stage. There was no sign of emotion although we were drawn to an excessive movement of the right side of his neck where a rather large muscle seemed to be working overtime. "I just wanted to play out of my skin so I'd be selected for the next game," he said.

On a cold night under the floodlights of Ellis Park Stadium, Ireland gave one of their finest performances. They were at their roisterous, boisterous best and but for the enormous presence of the 6ft 5in, 19st Lomu on the New Zealand left wing the Irish might have enjoyed their finest hour.

As it is they enjoyed their finest half-hour, unsettling the All Blacks with the ferocity and skill of their play. Jeff Wilson, on the New Zealand right wing, had already been battered twice before a well-worked move from an indirect penalty led to Gary Halpin crashing through the All Blacks back row. This was an extraordinary role reversal. When he emerged from beneath the bodies, Halpin raised two fingers to the opposition, an act for which he was later admonished by manager Noel Murphy.

Ireland held the lead until the 32nd minute when Michael Bradley attempted to fly-kick the ball into touch and instead kicked it into the hands of the last man on earth Ireland wanted to see in possession. Lomu drove through Richard Wallace and for the first time the All Blacks gained a degree of composure. Their second try also owed more to Irish carelessness than anything else when Frank Bunce charged down Brendan Mullin's kick.

Suddenly the All Blacks were 20-7 ahead and Ireland lost their impressive full-back, Jim Staples. He broke a bone in a hand following a reckless challenge from Wilson, who also departed. Wilson complained of blurred vision although the management later said it was an ankle injury. If it was, in fact, concussion he would follow Staples out of the tournament.

Ireland were behind 20-12 at half-time, Denis McBride finishing off a brilliant move but every time they got close, the long black cloud of Lomu overshadowed them. Holding the ball in one hand as though it was the size of an egg, he scored another try and then left a trail of prostrate green jerseys in his wake with a weaving run that set Ellis Park alight and emphatically underlined the brutal power of the man.

From inside his own half, he broke through four tackles and would have scored but for Simon Geoghegan tenaciously clinging on to an ankle like a dog with a bone. However, Lomu slipped the ball to Josh Kronfeld, who only had a yard or so to the line. Terry Kingston, the Ireland captain, suggested the only way to stop Lomu was to tackle him with a shot-gun.

The Tongan, playing only his third international, is by no means the finished product and McBride halted him on one of his rhinoceros charges, although it took the flanker a long time to get up. On the one occasion Wallace had a chance to run at Lomu he rounded him with ease - so there is a chink in the armour. It's when he's got the ball in his hands that the opposition tend to look like a formation of skittles in a bowling alley.

Ireland, however, continued to pick themselves up and scored another excellent try. Three tries against any All Blacks side is riches indeed and the scoreline was cruel on Ireland. "The result doesn't matter as long as you win," Noel Murphy said. He did not think the All Blacks were as awesome as previous years and added: "Perhaps there's a slight weakness in their pack. There are competent sides at the top but not great sides. We've shown how open this World Cup is."

Ireland matched the New Zealand forwards in most phases but the penalty count went against them 15-6, enabling Andrew Mehrtens to demonstrate that, like Lomu, he will be a prolific scorer in the competition. "It's nice to know I've got somebody there who can run through teams," the stand- off said.

NEW ZEALAND: G Osborne (North Harbour); J Wilson (Otago), F Bunce (North Harbour), W Little (North Harbour), J Lomu (Counties); A Mehrtens (Canterbury), G Bachop (Canterbury); C Dowd (Auckland), S Fitzpatrick (Auckland, capt), O Brown (Auckland), I Jones (North Harbour), B Larsen (North Harbour), J Joseph (Otago), M Brewer (Canterbury), J Kronfeld (Otago). Replacements: M Ellis (Otago) for Wilson, 31; K Schuler (North Harbour) for Brewer, 74.

IRELAND: J Staples (Harlequins); R Wallace (Garryowen), B Mullin (Blackrock College), J Bell (Ballymena), S Geoghegan (Bath); E Elwood (Lansdowne), M Bradley (Cork Constitution); N Popplewell (Wasps ), T Kingston (Dolphin, capt), G Halpin (London Irish), G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), N Francis (Old Belvedere), D Corkery (Cork Constitution), P Johns (Dungannon), D McBride (Malone). Replacement: M Field (Malone) for Staples, 36.

Referee: W Erickson (Australia).

Property
house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living