Thursday 19 October 2017

Keith Wood reveals an idea he had to put All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu off his game

17 November 2001; Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie. Ireland v New Zealand, International friendly, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Rugby. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
17 November 2001; Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie. Ireland v New Zealand, International friendly, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Rugby. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

For a period of time, Jonah Lomu was the most feared rugby player in the world.

The giant New Zealander made his international bow in 1994 and was the star of the World Cup the following year where his incredible physicality and try-scoring exploits made him the first superstar of the professional game.

In 2001, Ireland led the All Blacks 21-7 in the early stages of the second half and looked to be threatening to record a first ever victory over the southern hemisphere kings.

On what was Richie McCaw’s debut, the visitors rallied, with Lomu among the scorers to run out winners.

Brian O’Driscoll admitted on the show that the Aucklander was the one player he feared on the pitch, particularly during one play when Lomu lined up the Irish centre.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball Roadshow tonight, Wood revealed how he thought about a novel plan to put the winger off his game.

“The night before that game I got a phone call from the BBC to say they are doing ‘This is Your Life’ for Jonah Lomu on the Monday,” he revealed. “It kept going through my head during that game that if I had had a word with him, a whisper in his ear at a ruck, would it put him off?”

“I never said it to him and I actually had an operation on my shoulder the Monday immediately afterwards and I went on ‘This is Your Life’ and fell asleep and dribbled all over Will Carling’s shirt after the general anaesthetic.

“I wasn’t afraid of him though.”

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