Just how do you stop this man?

If England are to win tomorrow's World Cup semi-final, they must find a way to shackle Jonah Lomu, the All Black wing. Just 20, Lomu has been the sens ation of the tournament, his combination of speed - he runs the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds - and power - he weighs 19 stone - making him often irresistible. A selection of experts offer their advice on how they might try to stop him.
Click to follow

(Scotland captain)

There's no doubt about it. He's a big bastard


(Former Wales and Lions full-back)

There are only two ways to hit him. As he gets the ball, before he gets into his stride; or, failing that, you then have to dive at his feet. Anything else and it's a lost cause.

The way he swatted Gavin Hastings away like a fly was frightening. Lomu is awesome with the ball in his hands. But he is a one-off player and I still think there is a place in the game for wings such as Gerald Davies and JJ Williams, because the Lomus don't come along all that often."


(Former Scotland and Lions coach)

The best way to stop Lomu is not to let him get the ball in the first place. Once he gets moving he is very difficult to stop, so you have to deny him time and space. To do that you have to defend with your winger close to him.

I expect England to put pressure on the New Zealand midfield to slow up the ball supply, which in turn will shut out Lomu.

New Zealand also play Lomu off the stand-off. Against England's back row he will be coming up against big men, but they must get that first, early tackle in, then he shouldn't be as difficult to stop.

Another important factor in Lomu's involvement in the game is the performance of Andrew Mehrtens at stand-off. He has brought the New Zealand centres into proceedings more often and more effectively then any other All Black stand-off ever has before, and if he is allowed to get the line moving then the chances are that the ball will reach Lomu at pace and then he is really dangerous.

Actually stopping Lomu is another matter. In the first half of their match Scotland gave him room and the outside and he is an 11-second 100-

metre sprinter, so if you give that amount of space he will use it well. He has to be hit hard and low. The first man should at least check him, but you need to have support and the then the second man in should bring him down.


(Scotland wing)

What I wanted to do was to knock his arms out of the way first He wants to hand you off and he's so powerful that he can push you away, so you've got to knock them out of the way, go as low as possible and hang on. I tried that, but there wasn't much I could do. I've never played against such a powerful opponent.

He is deceptively quick and likes to come off his left foot. You must close him down fast. Get to him early. He is not invincible.


(Wigan rugby league coach)

As with any player, if you can get up and crowd him and hit him before he gets the ball in space, you've got a chance of stopping him - no matter how big he is. It is like Kevin Iro; if you get up and crowd him he can be stopped.

The trouble with the All Blacks is that they have a lot of good players in the back-line and if you spend all your time watching one the others are going to do damage. That has happened in a couple of games where Lomu hasn't seen too much ball, but the others have run riot.

And, of course, if he does get into his stride, he's much harder to stop. He's very big and he has a good fend. Players have been throwing themselves at his ankles to try and make him lose his balance, but you can get hurt doing that and you don't want to do too much of it.


(England captain)

He's not my man. I'm not going anywhere near him

Campo's sour note

Amid all the eulogies, David Campese, the Australian wing, has injected a charactersitically alternative view about the new star of rugby union. "Nowadays we've got guys like Lomu who just barrel people over. There's not much fun in that," he said. "When I grew up you had great wingers like Brendan Moon and JJ Williams. But look at them now: they are just like steam-rollers and there is no skill involved any more. What worries me is you might get the situation where someone gets seriously injured. To me it's just not rugby."

How he measures up in the World Cup

Tallest Martin Bayfield (Eng, lock) 6ft 10in, 18st 7lb; Derwyn Jones (Wal, lock) 6ft 10in, 18st 5lb.

Heaviest Richard West (Eng, lock) 20st 5lb, 6ft 8in; Kobus Wiese (SA, lock) 19st 8lb, 6ft 41/2in; Warwick Waugh (Aus, lock) 19st 3lb, 6ft 71/2in.

Next-heaviest backs Damian Smith (Aus, wing) 16st 1lb, 6ft 21/2in; Joe Roff (Aus, wing) 15st 6lb, 6ft 3in.

Next-tallest Roff (as above); Vasile Brici (Rom, full-back) 6ft 2in, 14st.

Power runners Willie Ofahengaue (Aus, flanker) 18st, 6ft 21/2in; Ben Clarke (Eng, flanker) 16st 7lb, 6ft 5in; Abdelatif Benazzi (Fr, flanker) 18st, 6ft 61/2in; Al Charron (Can, flanker) 17st 12lb, 6ft 61/2in

Is Lomu the most powerful runner in world sport?

Ignoring the heavyweights of sumo and boxing, who do not have to be sprinters, a comparison with the biggest competitors in other sports suggests that Lomu may indeed be the most powerful runner in the sporting arena.

Rugby league American football Basketball Athletics

Va'aiga Tuigamala Craig Heyward Shaquille O'Neal Linford Christie

Wigan and New Zealand Atlanta Falcons Orlando Magic Olympic 100m champion

5ft 10in, 16st 5ft 11in 19st 7ft 1in, 22st 6ft 2in, 12st 1lb

(billowing up to 21st

in the off season)

A lucrative future?

Lomu's enormous impact at the World Cup will leave the sporting world at his feet after the tournament.

Rugby union

If he were to pledge his future to rugby union after the World Cup, no one would be happier than the New Zealand Rugby Union, which is fighting a rearguard action against rugby league and needs not only to win the Webb Ellis trophy but to hang on to every assets it has.

So if, or rather when, rugby union goes open Lomu, even at the tender age of 20, can rest assured that he will become one of its highest earners, commensurate with being one of its biggest crowd-pullers and -pleasers.

Alas for Jonah, even the most optimistic prognostications do not have rugby union players making the megabucks he could expect from Australian rugby league, let alone American gridiron so he will be tempted and, religious young man though he is, that temptation is likely to prove too strong.

In union's favour is that all his recent experience is in New Zealand union and the weaknesses of his game that may make him less successful elsewhere have yet to be exposed.

On the other hand, he knows the serious money lies in alternative uses of the oval ball and may put his future earning power at risk if he hangs on.

Potential rewards: pounds 100,000 pa.

American football

Lomu's remarkable combination of size, speed and weight make him an exceptional athlete even in the bulked-up world of the NFL. At 20 he is very late to be learning a new trade but in a furiously competitive sport someone may be prepared to take the risk. The Dallas Cowboys are reported to be taking an interest. A bold move might be for the NFL to secure his services for their ailing World League of American Football and assess his potential at the gridiron game. If he were only a short-yardage specialist, the rewards could outstrip anything on offer from the other sports

Potential rewards: $119,000 pa (NFL minimum), rising to around $1m a year if he is reasonably successful, and two or three times that figure if he were able fully to adapt his talents

Rugby league

Lomu is in the name-your-own-price category for rugby league clubs. Over a year ago, before he established his current reputation, the Auckland Warriors believed that he would join them after the World Cup was over. Their problem is the way that his value has escalated in the meantime.

Lomu played league until he was 13 and would not need schooling in the basics of the game. He would, however, need intensive work on his defence, where he can show alarming lack of mobility, and on general technique. Such is his awesome combination of size and speed, though, that any club would be willing to take that trouble.

Potential rewards: The bidding will start at pounds 1m, but would go closer to pounds 1.5m for a contract of five years or longer.