Lomu's flight a fantasy

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New Zealand have yet to win the final against South Africa, but their homecoming is already making headlines.

Specifically, the question of whether Jonah Lomu will fly back with his team-mates, or head off to Dallas to discuss becoming a Cowboy in American Football. An official at Lomu's local church in Auckland said a reception to welcome the giant winger had been postponed because he and his father would be discussing contracts in Texas.

Not so, said the New Zealand management yesterday. "Nobody in the Dallas Cowboys organisation has ever heard of him," the All Blacks' campaign manager, Brian Lochore said. The Cowboys later added their own denial.

The All Blacks' spokesman, Ric Salizzo, said that Lomu would definitely be flying home with the rest of the side after tomorrow's final in Johannesburg.

Lomu continues to cast his giant shadow over the final, and yesterday a number of former South African wings were offering hints on how to stop him. Most were serving up the same advice given to every side he has steamrollered so far.

"The big secret is not to give him any room to move," Jannie Engelbrecht said. "You have to make sure that he's on your outside. Then if he wants to move inside he must be taken above waist level. Forget about his knees and ankles - he is too tall and too strong."

Carel du Plessis said: "Don't wait for him. He'll just hand you off. You must attack in defence against him." William Stapelberg, who agrees about the attacking line, is comfortably the most optimistic observer of the world game. "Don't do as England did and stalk him. You have to dive at him from the side with a vengeance," he said.


Third Place Play-off

England 9 France 19

Tries: N'Tamack,


Pens: Andrew 3 Lacroix 3

(at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)



South Africa v New Zealand (2.0 BST)

(at Ellis Park, Johannesburg)