Legends from all eras of All Black rugby turned up to a memorial service at Eden Park to show their respects for the incomparible Jonah Lomu
Jonah Lomu was given an emotional and, at times humourous send-off from former All Black and former mentor, Eric Rush, as the giant All Black was laid to rest at a public memorial service at Eden Park, Auckland, attended by over 8,000 people.
Rush started out by saying that he and his team-mate had always taken the mickey out of one another, “and that’s not going to change now”, he quipped that he’d “tell a few stories about the big fella, and hope he doesn’t sit up”, to laughs from the assembled crowd.
At the start of the service, the Haka was performed by students at Wesley College, the school Lomu attended, and a star-studded group of current and former All Blacks, there to pay their respects, including Michael Jones, Buck Shelford, Jeff Wilson, Tana Umaga, Sir John Kirwan, Josh Kronfeld and Ian Jones, while World Cup winner, Jerome Kaino was a pallbearer.
There were tributes from Queen Elizabeth II and Elton John in front of Jonah’s widow, Nadene and young sons, Brayley 6, and Dyhreille, 5, both of whom were decked out in their father’s famous No 11 All Blacks jersey.
Also in attendance was World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset, while there were tributes from around the world. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key recorded a video tribute from Paris, where he is attending the world climate conference.
“He proved that you can come from anywhere in New Zealand, in any background, and make it to the top”.
Never a truer word spoken. Rest in peace, Jonah Tali Lomu.