Lomu rates match-winner as the most important of his career
July 16, 2000
Jonah Lomu's 29th test try was the most important of his headline-grabbing rugby career.
With his side trailing by a point and injury time looming, Lomu was put in space 25m out, brushed aside Wallaby flyhalf Stephen Larkham and avoided the left-hand touchline to seal the game.
New Zealand's best player at the World Cup, the giant winger had a storming game and capped his 42nd test with what he thought was his most meaningful try.
"When things hang in the balance like that it's rated up there," he said in his customary, understated way.
Lomu and blindside flanker Taine Randell were arguably the All Blacks' two finest players and it was the former All Blacks captain who provided the skilful overhand pass to send the giant winger away.
"Taine got the ball in a tricky situation but once I saw what he was going to do I just had to make sure I was deep enough for him to chuck it over. The rest was to try to get on the outside and use any way to get over," Lomu recalled. "I was screaming like anything to let him know where I was and gave him all the time to throw it over."
Lomu only just eluded the touchline.
"I didn't realise until I looked and then the old tip-toes had to come in then," he said.
The try was significant for Lomu because he said victory last night provided a major
"A lot of us didn't want to dwell on what happened last year. This is the year 2000 and we had a fresh approach to it and we knew we had to give our heart and soul and leave it out on the field," he said.
"The Australians are a formidable side, they're the world champions and they showed that after they were 24-0 down."
The Wallabies had discussed how to contain Lomu before the game but coach Rod Macqueen said talking and doing were different things when it came to the powerful 25-year-old.
"We've got a very good defensive side and we tried a number of times to bring him down," Macqueen said. "He played very well. He has always been hard to tackle but he really did show just how hard."
In the fifth minute, fullback Christian Cullen scored his 35th try in tests to round out the All Blacks' opening blitz. It took him to second-equal with John Kirwan on the all-time list and four short of Jeff Wilson's 39 test tries.
Brought to you by AAP
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton