Lomu’s life and career in numbers

SIMON BORCHARDT looks back at Jonah Lomu's childhood, troubled youth, school days and rugby career.


1975 – The year he was born in Auckland.

2 – The number of weeks that passed before he was finally named by his aunt Ruby, who had read the biblical story of Jonah and the whale while at the hospital.

1 – The number of years he spent in New Zealand before he was sent to live with his mother’s sister in Tonga.

6 – His age when his father went to Tonga and took him kicking and screaming back to New Zealand.


12 – His age when his uncle was hacked to death with a machete by a group of Samoans. They chopped off his head and arms.

3 – The number of top-of-the-range bikes he and his gang friends would steal from shops on an average day. They also stole cars and took them for joyrides.

15 – His age when he finally retaliated against his father, who had beaten him throughout his childhood. Before going to school each day he’d make sure he was covered up so people couldn’t see the marks. On one occasion he was beaten with an electric cord that left bruises all over his back.


1989 – The year he began boarding school at Wesley College in South Auckland. He received a full scholarship.

6 – The number of detentions he had picked up by the end of his second day at the school.

4 – The number of sessions he’d spend punching a big bag in the school storeroom, before lunch. He did this to channel his anger and aggression in a more positive way.

90 – The number of kilograms he weighed at the age of 11.

10.89 – His fastest time over 100m.

14 – His age when he beat up an 18-year-old in a street fight. The police let him off with a warning.

13 – The size of his feet at the age of 14.

1991 – The year he played for New Zealand U17 against Australia. The Kiwis won 25-0.

30 – The number of tries he scored for Wesley in 17 matches in 1992, as eighthman. He was selected for NZ Schools later that year.


18 – The age when he played for Counties in the 1994 National Sevens competition, before being named in the New Zealand Sevens side.

1994 – The year he was formally diagnosed with a kidney disorder.

12 – His age when his childhood hero John Kirwan won the 1987 World Cup with the All Blacks.

80 – The number of minutes’ experience he had playing wing, before being called up to an All Blacks trial in 1994.

19 – His age when he played against John Kirwan in the All Blacks trial.

11 – The number he wore when he made his Test debut against France in 1994.

2 – The number of Tests he played before he was dropped by the All Black selectors. He missed one of the tackles that resulted in France scoring a ‘try from the end of the earth’ in the second Test of the series.

300,000 – The amount in New Zealand dollars the Canterbury Bulldogs offered to pay him per season, after he was dropped by the All Blacks in 1994. His manager, Phil Kingsley Jones, persuaded him to fight his way back into the All Blacks squad.


200 – The amount in pounds placed as a bet by a fan on Lomu running through Scotland fullback Gavin Hastings during the World Cup quarter-final. It was money well spent.

0 – The hours he managed to sleep before the World Cup semi-final against England in Cape Town.

4 – The number of tries he scored against England.

0 – The number of times he was successfully brought to ground by England’s Mike Catt.

10 – The seconds it took for him to meet and shake hands with Nelson Mandela before the World Cup final. Madiba had an aura that almost floored him.

100 – The number of minutes it took for the Springboks to beat the All Blacks and be crowned world champions.

7 – The number of tries he scored in total at the World Cup, in six matches. He was named Player of the Tournament.


1996 – The year he scored a try for the Blues in the inaugural Super 12 final against the Sharks. The game remained one of his favourite rugby memories.

0 – The number of Tests he played in the 1996 series against the Boks. While he was suffering from a knee and heel injury, he was also experiencing kidney problems for the first time.

118 – His weight in kilograms at the end of 1996.

127 – The kilometres per hour he was driving his Jaguar XJS when pulled over by the police in 1996. To make things worse, he didn’t have a driver’s licence.


1997 – The year he finally made a formal announcement (in January) to the public about his kidney problems.

8 – The number of months he took off to have treatment in 1997.

40 – The minutes his arm would be numb every time he was given a dexamethasone injection to treat his kidney disorder.

150 – The number of kilograms he weighed at one point during his treatment. The tablets he took reduced swelling around his kidneys, but also caused his body to retain fluid.

2 – The number of hours it took him to complete a familiar run in Auckland, after he resumed training.

20 – The number of times he stopped to rest during the run.

18 – The number of minutes it normally took him to complete the run.


0:13:29 – The time it took him to finish a 3km run at the All Blacks’ pre-World Cup boot camp.

5 – The number of points he scored against England in the World Cup pool match.

14 – The points lead the All Blacks squandered against France in the World Cup semi-final.

2 – The number of tries he scored for the All Blacks in that semi-final.

8 – The number of tries he scored at the World Cup in six matches.


2001 – The year he won the Commonwealth Games gold and Sevens World Cup with New Zealand.


1,000,000 – The amount in pounds Bristol were prepared to pay for him per season, plus two cars, a choice of accommodation, and a full-time job for manager Kingsley Jones. He turned it down.

109,000 – The number of people at Stadium Australia who watched him score the winning try in the greatest Test of all time in 2000.

1 – The number of games he played in the 2002 Tri-Nations, as a substitute.

2 – The number of tries he scored against England on the All Blacks end-of-year tour in 2002.

43 – The number of points scored by the All Blacks against Wales in 2002, in what was his last Test for his country.


4 – The number of matches he played for the Hurricanes in 2003, before deciding to stop and focus on his kidney treatment.

68 – His haemoglobin blood count after the Hurricanes returned from South Africa in 2003. The normal blood count for a male is between 135 and 180 milligrams per millimetre.

0 – The number of matches he played in 2004.

10 – The number of games he played for the Cardiff Blues in 2005 and 2006, scoring one try.

3 – The number of games he played for North Harbour in 2006 before retiring from rugby in 2007.

2009-10 – The season in which he came out of retirement to play for French Fédérale 1 team Marseille Vitrolles (at centre and No 8).


2 – The number of times he was approached to play a small role in a James Bond movie.

320 – The kilometres per hour he drove at the Pukekohe racetrack in South Auckland. His car? A Nissan Skyline GT-R34.

169.1 – The number of decibels his car’s sound system was capable of producing.


63 – The number of Tests he played for the All Blacks.

37 – The number of Test tries he scored.

185 – The number of first-class games he played.

122 – The number of first-class tries he scored.


2011 – The year in which he married Nadene, his third wife.

2 – The number of sons they had – Brayle (6) and Dhyreille (5).

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Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP Photo

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Simon Borchardt