Rugby Union: Love sways Lomu's devotion to capital

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JONAH LOMU, the All Black wing, admitted yesterday that love had helped him decide on a two-year contract with Wellington. The former Auckland and Waikato Chiefs player will line up for his third Super 12 team in as many years in the hometown of his girlfriend, Teina Stace.

Lomu said the relationship was a factor in his decision but added the major reason was to improve his rugby. "I'd be lying if Teina didn't have a part in it but it's a rugby decision about what will bring out the best in me," he said.

Lomu said another factor prompting his decision to leave Auckland was the relaxed atmosphere offered by the capital. "I'll have a bit more privacy, it's a great place to relax and when I'm relaxed I play better," the giant 24-year-old said.

Lomu and Stace have not yet decided where to live in Wellington but he joked: "A few people have dropped off photos of their houses."

Lomu, who joined the Chiefs from Auckland last year, will partner fellow All Blacks Christian Cullen and Tana Umaga in the Wellington backline. "I'm not taking anything for granted, I'll have to be at my best," Lomu said. Lomu was the top try-scorer with eight at the World Cup and rejected several offers, including from English clubs, to stay in New Zealand.

n Simon Holmes, the 32-year-old flanker, is staying with Northampton until the end of the season after originally joining them as cover during the World Cup. Saints' director of rugby, John Steele, said: "He has made an excellent contribution and we are delighted he has agreed to stay on."