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Lomu built for speed not distance
Wellington
January 18, 2000

Giant All Black rugby union winger Jonah Lomu is snail-like over distance but stronger than a front row prop.

Thats the word from Wellington Hurricanes coach Bryan Williams after Lomu put in a modest 17 minutes 35 seconds over three kilometres (1.9 miles) and was lapped by everyone else although he clocked 5.83 seconds for 50 metres (yards) in a fitness test with the Super 12 side.

Slowness over distance was of "no great concern," Williams, an ex-All Black wing, said Tuesday.

"His speed was awesome, and so was his strength, he was stronger than the props.

"Those are the positives that I prefer to focus on. Two out of three ain't bad, and we're working on the other one."

Lomu was jaded after spending two nights in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital with his ill father, Semisi.

"As coaches, I think we need to take everything in its entirety," Williams said.

"There were some mitigating circumstances. He's been going to see his dad, and obviously that was a factor."

Lomu, leading try scorer in last year's World Cup has switched from the Waikato Chiefs to the Wellington based Hurricanes for the Super 12 season in order to be near his girlfriend.

He will turn out for the opening game on February 25 when the Hurricanes play the South African Sharks here.

Lomu was naturally upset by his performance but did offer an excuse- he had spent 2 sleepless nights at the hospital bedside of his father in Auckland, who is suffering heart problems.

The Wellington round of the World Sevens series is just 3 weeks away but New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens has ruled out the possibility of Lomu not being selected.If nothing else, he is too big a crowd attraction.

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