Rugby Union: Lomu in cross-Channel tug-of-war

David Llewellyn charts the latest twists in a giant transfer story

ON THE pitch, Jonah Lomu's route and destination are generally easy to work out, but yesterday his own destiny was shrouded in mystery. A report had claimed that the giant All Black wing had signed a deal with Allied Dunbar Premiership club Bristol.

However, the West Country side were in denial over the alleged pounds 1.1m move. Malcolm Pearce, the multi-millionaire owner of Bristol, was reportedly due to join Lomu in Cardiff for the signing prior to the World Cup final, but yesterday Pearce said: "I am at home today. I am not going to the World Cup final."

Bob Dwyer, Bristol's coach, said: "I have heard nothing linking Jonah Lomu with this club, and if it happened I would find it astonishing. Surely if he was about to sign for Bristol I would know something about it. I would expect to be involved in discussions with any prospective player."

Bristol's chief executive Nick de Scossa was adamant, saying: "We have not approached Lomu or his agent. We have not had any contact with him, so there is no way a deal has been done."

But according to the report, the New Zealand RFU had failed in a last- ditch attempt to persuade the 24-year-old Lomu to sign up for a further four years, although a move to the northern hemisphere would mean, under current NZRFU legislation, that his burgeoning All Black career was over after just 38 caps.

Such a sacrifice would be a major down-side to any such move, although no doubt a reported annual salary of pounds 555,000 might help soften such a fall from national grace.

But with his agent Phil Kingsley-Jones also denying any deal with Bristol, then perhaps there is some substance to the claim that Lomu's future has still to be settled.

According to Kingsley-Jones there are at least half a dozen clubs, English and French, which are still expressing an interest in the powerful wing. He added that Lomu had not rejected a renewed four-year contract with the All Blacks.

Lomu has been a subject of similar speculation since the game turned professional. At 6ft 5in and 19 stones, the All Black wing, a possessor of pace as well, has proved a potent weapon for New Zealand since his Test debut back in June 1994. That was against France at Lancaster Park in Christchurch, a match which was marked by Lomu becoming, at 19 years and 46 days, the youngest player ever to wear the Silver Fern, while it was also the game in which Phillipe Sella gained his 100th cap.

However, life since has not been a complete bed of roses for Lomu. While he may now be the record try scorer in World Cup history with 14, and an overall tally of 25 in Tests for the All Blacks, his private life has not always gone smoothly. Three years ago, Lomu was diagnosed as suffering from a career- threatening kidney problem, an illness which sidelined him for 12 months.

But he returned to international action and within months was helping the All Blacks to a Commonwealth Games gold medal when he put the Lump in Kuala Lumpar.

The speculation has been fuelled by the fact that Lomu is coming to the end of his current New Zealand contract. There has been constant interest shown in Lomu from Rugby League - the latest clubs chasing him are Auckland and Leeds. The latter would want the Counties star to turn out for their Union outfit as well.

And in addition to Bristol and the NZRFU, Lomu is also reported as having been targeted by Allied Dunbar Premiership Two side Worcester, as well as those unidentified French clubs.


1975: Born 12 May in Auckland, New Zealand.

1994: Makes his All Blacks debut against France at Lancaster Park, youngest ever New Zealand Test player.

1995: Wins a runners-up medal in the World Cup after becoming star of the game, scoring four tries in semi-final against England.

1996: Out of game for 12 months with career-threatening kidney problem.

1999: Spends most of the Test season on the bench but returns to customary left-wing berth in time for the World Cup, during which he becomes record try scorer in World Cup history with career total of 14.


Counties Manukau and Waikato Chiefs: 115 games, 385 pts, 77 tries.

Tests: 38 Tests, 125 pts, 25 tries.

Youngest player to score 10 Test tries and first to score 12 in a calendar year.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...


Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?