Thursday 8 December 2016

Lomu's niece can't wait for rematch in Aviva

Published 09/11/2016 | 02:30

Aliyah Palu, niece of Jonah Lomu, with French friends Manon Nambot (left) and Charlene
Kentzinger. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22
Aliyah Palu, niece of Jonah Lomu, with French friends Manon Nambot (left) and Charlene Kentzinger. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22

The niece of Jonah Lomu, arguably the most famous All Black in history, is currently living in Limerick - and she can't wait for the grudge rematch between Ireland and New Zealand.

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Aliyah Palu (20) is studying for her arts degree in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick - and she said nothing could prevent her from cheering on the All Blacks in the Aviva Stadium on November 19.

After Ireland's historic win in Chicago last Saturday, the rematch falls the day after the first anniversary of the death of Jonah Lomu. Tragically, the winger was just 40 when he died from a long-standing kidney condition on November 18 last year.

Aliyah is not only the niece of the late All Blacks legend, she is also a cousin of Australian rugby star Israel Folau (27). Incredibly, more than 14 New Zealand, Australian and Tongan rugby internationals are connected to Aliyah's extended family.

"There's a warrior ancestry in my family, so it's not a surprise really that so many have gone on to rugby careers," she said.

Aliyah's family home is in Tonga, though she has also lived in Australia. She arrived in Ireland last August to study in Limerick.

"I arrived on my own, so it was a little scary at first," she said. "But I've made great friends. Ireland is such a friendly and welcoming place. I love it here."

"I never realised just how much people love their rugby here," she added.

Irish Independent

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