Jonah Lomu, New Zealand. World Cups Played In – 1995, 1999
Lomu is one of those players. You say his name in any rugby club and everyone will instantly say: "Oh, he was a great player." If you ask Mike Catt, he'd probably wince at the memory of the semi-final in 1995.
He debuted young, 19 years and 45 days, for the All Blacks in 1994, and won two caps against France, doing enough to claim a place in the squad for the 1995 World Cup. From then on, he dominated, scoring seven tries in five games, including four against England in the semi-final. Considering he was rested for the 145 – 17 hammering of Japan, and withdrawn before he scored against Wales, that’s not bad going.
Even more impressive was the 1999 World Cup where he managed to top his own tally with eight tries in the tournament, scoring doubles over Tonga and Italy in the pool stages, and France in the semi-final, but the French pulled through to win the game 43-31.
Undeniably an All Black legend, sadly his only medal comes from the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, where he represented New Zealand in the 7’s. By many accounts, he was not at his absolute best in 1999, following a serious and chronic kidney illness, something kept secret until 2003.
Despite that, 11 out of his 63 caps came from World Cups, and a grand total of fifteen tries remains unmatched to this day. Lomu is one of the greats, and if you haven’t seen him play, you have to watch his highlights reel above.Reuse content