January 24 down the years
Lomu takes time out
Jonah Lomu was forced to take time out on this day in 1997
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Jonah Lomu announced that he would be taking a six-month break from the game to undergo treatment on his chronic kidney condition. The All Blacks winger, who had established himself as rugby's first global superstar with his devastating displays during the 1995 World Cup, had been diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome and he sat out the 1997 Tri Nations series as a consequence. However, he returned for the end-of-season tour of Wales, England and Ireland. Lomu failed to score in any of the Tests and it was clear that his health was on the wane. In spite of this, he still managed to help New Zealand win gold in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur before touching down eight times during the All Blacks' run to the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup, thus becoming the tournament's all-time record try-scorer, with an overall tally of 15. However, while he remained in All Blacks squads until 2002, his condition had taken its toll on his body and he was eventually forced to undergo a kidney transplant in 2004. Several comeback attempts were hindered by injury and he announced his retirement from the gamein 2007. He is currently trying to resurrect his career in France with Marseille Vitrolles.
Wales avoided defeat against South Africa for the first time, holding the Springboks to a 6-6 draw with the Springboks in Cardiff. Gareth Edwards accounted for all of Wales' points, scoring a try and a penalty. HO de Villiers touched down for the Springboks, while Syd Nomis notched a penalty. The result in the Welsh capital meant that the South Africans had failed to win a single game on their tour of Great Britain, having opened with defeats against both Scotland and England before managing an 8-8 draw with Ireland.
The tour, though, had been completely overshadowed by a succession of anti-apartheid demonstrations in each host country, resulting in it being labelled 'The Demo Tour', and the Boks' clash with Wales would be their last on British soil for 22 years.
Matt Stevens made his comeback from a two-year drugs ban with a low-key run-out for Saracens' 'A' side. The former England tight-head turned out in a 39-29 Aviva A-League win against Wasps at Old Albanians - his first action since he picked up a ban for failing a drugs test in December 2008.
The last ever international played at Edinburgh's Inverleith ground ended in a resounding 25-4 victory for Scotland over France. Ian Smith marked the occasion with a staggering four tries for the home side.
The legendary Jackie Kyle scored a fantastic individual try as Ireland recorded a commanding 16-3 victory over France at Ravenhill.
Oxford University claimed a hard-fought 8-5 victory over The Army in a fiercely-contested midweek clash at Iffley Road.
Former Scotland international Joe McPartlin, Robbie Lamb and future Scotland fullback Stewart Wilson all featured in the students' back-line. Meanwhile, their compatriots, Mike Campbell-Lamerton and Norman Bruce, both packed down for The Army.
Phil Bennett inspired the Barbarians to a scintillating 19-7 victory over the Wallabies. The mercurial Welsh fly-half helped himself to a try, two conversions and a penalty as a Baa-Baas side containing several members of the Lions side which had pulled off a series win in South Africa two years previously completely outclassed the Wallabies.