Zinzan Brooke: Jonah Lomu is the greatest rugby player of all time, he would make mincemeat out of people in training and I vividly remember unleashing him against England
This week marks seven years since the death of New Zealand rugby hero Jonah Lomu, and ex-All Blacks teammate and friend Zinzan Brooke has paid tribute to the man he believes is the finest player of all time
Speaking to FairBettingSites.co.uk, Zinzan Brooke said:
- Jonah Lomu is the greatest rugby player of all time
- Rugby lost a special individual – he was a joy behind the scenes
- He was taller than me when he was 16 – and was 6ft 3ins at 26
- I vividly remember unleashing him against England at the 1995 World Cup
- He would make mincemeat out of people in training
Jonah Lomu is the greatest rugby player of all time
I think Jonah Lomu is the greatest rugby player of all time.
Even to this day, I miss the guy. He was a special individual. Not only as an athlete, but as a person who loved the game and gave so much to the game. God bless his soul. A few All Blacks players have come close to looking like him, but the size, power and speed he had was just extraordinary.
Rugby lost a special player and individual – he would make mincemeat out of players in training
Lomu was an absolute joy, good company and a lovely young man. We’ve lost a special individual. It was so hard training against him but when you came up against South Africa, for example, you had a chance to get your technique right in training.
He would make mincemeat out of people on training runs. Some guys would try and use their best technique to tackle him. His power and pace, he just ticked all the boxes to attack. He had it all, the agility and his weight, he looked so easy on his feet and that’s why we loved him.
He was taller than me when he was 16 – and I was 6ft 3ins at 26!
I can only say it was much better to be on Lomu’s side than against him! Even at a young age in the 1995 World Cup, he was a specimen. I met him when he was 16 when he came to my club and it was a delight and a joy to witness his progress. Then in just over two years’ time, he was playing for the All Blacks.
He was a special individual and I enjoyed the time I had with him, he had one of those legacies that made people who didn’t normally watch rugby want to watch rugby. That’s a testament to his contribution. It was an absolute joy giving him the ball, with his size and what he used to do with the ball.
I met him when he was 16 and he was taller than me, and was 6ft 3ins. When I met him, he came to my club, and I was facing him and had to look up to him. He was standing right behind me, and I turned around and had to look up. I still remember he went ‘hello Mr Brooke’, I was 26 and I said, ‘you don’t have to call me Mr Brooke, just Zinzan!’
I remember unleashing him against England
Those videos of him at the World Cup, wow. In 1993, we played England at Twickenham and we felt that we didn’t get the fair rub of the green when we lost that match. Sean Fitzpatrick, the captain, had a chat with us to tell us just keep your heads up because there will be another opportunity. We didn’t know when that was, but lo and behold it was the semi-final of the World Cup in 1995 when we played England in Cape Town. So we needed no motivation to get up for that game. We thought we had a little strike weapon who could turn the tables, and sure enough in Cape Town there was a young gentleman called Jonah Lomu. All we needed to do was provide him the ball and he was absolutely sensational.