Lomu to reject million pound offers
November 11, 1999
Super League club Wakefield Trinity confirmed on Thursday giant New Zealand wing Jonah Lomu had rejected their one million pound (1.6 million dollar) offer to play rugby league.
Leeds Rhinos and Auckland Warriors had also failed to tempt the 24-year-old man mountain to try his hand at league, while Bristol headed a queue of union clubs anxious for the prized signature of the World Cup's record tryscorer.
London Irish and Worcester had also recently spoken to the player's manager Phil Kingsley Jones in a bid to persuade the colossal winger to join them, but he looks increasingly likely to sign a new four-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Wakefield had secured sponsorship to cover a two-year deal for Lomu, including 500,000 pound-a-year wages, which they claim would have enabled them to comply with salary cap regulations.
Chairman Ted Richardson said: "Ours was the only serious offer from rugby league and, although we are keeping in touch, we think he is going to remain in rugby union.
"It is disappointing because his signing would have been a tremendous boost to our game. But the search goes on."
Lomu is the second All Black to reject a big-money offer to switch to league.
Fellow winger Tana Umaga turned down Huddersfield-Sheffield last weekend to see out the remaining 12 months of his contract with the NZRU.
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch