Friday 24 November 2017

Near-perfect display shows Ireland have a Grand Slam in them -- Lomu

Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie in 2001
Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie in 2001
Jonah Lomu

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu has tipped Ireland for a Grand Slam in the Six Nations after their near-perfect performance against the All Blacks.

And the player also said yesterday that he would love to see Ireland make a successful bid to host the rugby World Cup in 2023.

The international wing said during an Irish radio interview that he believes Ireland could achieve a third Grand Slam if they brought the same game to the Six Nations next year.

"That just shows you exactly what the Irish team can do. They've just got to bottle what they had for 78 minutes of that game and take it into the Six Nations," said Lomu.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they were Grand Slam winners, on that performance definitely."

And as the country grapples to digest the heartbreaking loss to New Zealand, the player said that Ireland were the architects of their own downfall.

"They created their own demise. You don't kick the ball to the best attacking team in the world.

"They had the right game plan in the first half where they starved the All Blacks of the ball.

"The All Blacks didn't deserve to win. They deserved for it to be a draw but the Irish gave them the opportunity to shut the gate," he said.

"If they are in the same situation they will know exactly what to do next time around.

PERFECT

"For 78 minutes they had played the most perfect game I'd seen Ireland play."

He said he would love to see the rugby World Cup being hosted by Ireland in 2023.

"That would be awesome. You've got the stadiums to do it and at the same time you have lovely people that are great hosts.

"It doesn't matter what part of the world you come from, the Irish have always been welcoming to everybody.

"If New Zealand can do it I'm pretty sure Ireland can definitely do it."

He also revealed that he has his own connection this country as his wife has Irish roots.

"She has the Irish side coming from her father's side. We've delved into it quite deeply so there's a strong tie to being Irish," he said.

Lomu suffers from the rare kidney disorder, nephrotic syndrome, having been diagnosed with the condition in 1995 during his playing career.

The international wing required a transplant in 2004 and said his health was good despite being on dialysis for the past two years.

"My health is really, really good. It's been two years since I have been on dialysis," said the Kiwi.

"It is part and parcel of my health problems I've had for years. It's come to a head where now I need dialysis and this is what I have to do to stay alive."

Irish Independent

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