Saru expresses condolences

The South African Rugby Union has paid tribute to legendary All Blacks wing Jonah Lomu, who passed away suddenly in Auckland on Wednesday.

Lomu was the star of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, and went on to become the sport’s first global superstar. He returned to South Africa earlier this year for the making of a documentary, during which he was reunited with former Springbok opponents, and was also a guest at the Saru Player of the Year Awards.

'We woke up to the news of Jonah’s sudden passing this morning and I speak for the whole South African rugby community when I say we are deeply, deeply shocked and moved by this news,' Saru president Oregan Hoskins said.

'Jonah was a simply unbelievable player but, as much as he was a mighty All Black, he had a special place in South African hearts because of the connection we made in 1995. He was a credit to his country and a world ambassador for the game, loved as much for his humility and generosity of spirit as his playing. His passing leaves a hole in all our rugby lives.

'I would like to pass on the condolences of the South African rugby community to the entire New Zealand rugby community, but most particularly to Jonah’s family and closest friends.'

After a long-ranging battle with a rare kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, Lomu passed away at the age of 40.

Photo: Ross Setford/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis