26 October 2019 04:31

Chester Williams South Africa national rugby union team Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup: Jonah Lomu galumphed off.

Lomu's four-try demolition job at Newlands in 1995 was the single, most extraordinary individual performance in World Cup history. For Rob Andrew, the England hero the previous weekend after a late drop goal that beat Australia, what started out as a golden opportunity for the team ended as a collective nightmare. Then came the infamous Mike Catt moment where he ran straight over the top of him." The game was only 70 seconds old. Catt, playing at full-back, had barely had time to finish the anthem and suddenly a 6ft 5in, 19st wing was bearing down on him having swatted aside Tony Underwood and escaped England captain Will Carling's despairing dive. The second try, after 26 minutes, saw Lomu carve open England's midfield leaving Andrew clutching at mid-air as he breezed past him.

Most of the forwards' time would be spent on setpiece because that's all they fancied doing that and us backs would run the ball about a bit, do some kicking and then have a cup of tea." England, 35-3 down by the 52nd minute, restored some pride with a late rally but went down 45-29. "We made a fight of it in the second half but we just got beaten by a better team on the day," said Andrew. Jonah Lomu demolition job last time New Zealand faced England lives long in the memory It was the only game I ever played for England when I knew after just 20 minutes that we had lost. We are, of course, talking about the great, sadly late, Jonah Lomu. Saturday's World Cup semi-final will not be a repeat of that 1995 game at Newlands in Cape Town, but it will bring back memories for anyone who played in or watched it.

Jonah Lomu scored four tries as the All Blacks hammered England in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semifinal. The All Blacks face England in a Rugby World Cup playoff match for the first time in 24 years on Saturday. Stuff sports writer Mark Geenty walks down memory lane with some key figures from that unforgettable Cape Town semifinal in 1995. And that was before they'd even trotted onto Newlands, inside the dressing room's concrete walls as they braced for England in the Rugby World Cup semifinal of June 18, 1995. JOHN SELKIRK/STUFF The All Blacks were the most fired up Josh Kronfeld had ever seen, before that 1995 Cape Town semifinal.

I remember standing in that forward pack huddle before going out and thinking 'these guys are just next level for intensity'," Kronfeld told Stuff. "We were never a team to hit each other or headbutt walls like some of the old school stories, but for pure adrenaline and craziness and intensity and focus, it was probably the most fired up I ever saw an All Black side." GETTY IMAGES England fullback Mike Catt became world rugby's most famous speed bump against Jonah Lomu. Coach Laurie Mains had shown Jonah Lomu, a month past his 20th birthday, a clipping in which his opposite Tony Underwood suggested Lomu couldn't match him for pace and hadn't really been tested yet. "He just went very quiet and mumbled something along the lines of: 'he [Underwood] is going to know who Jonah is when this game is over'," Mains recalled this week. the legendary All Blacks wing scores one of the great tries after steamrolling Mike Catt.

One of the great All Blacks performances was headlined by a near superhuman Lomu who became a global superstar in 80 minutes. England captain Will Carling described Lomu as "a freak of nature". Brooke could well have worn a Harlem Globetrotters singlet under his black jersey, firing a huge infield pass for one of Lomu's tries and dropping a goal from nearly 50m to help build a 25-3 halftime lead. PHOTOSPORT All Blacks flanker Josh Kronfeld recalls team-mate Zinzan Brooke, left, as near fanatical before the England match. Aside from it being a cup semifinal, there was a reason for the All Blacks' pre-match fervour which Kronfeld described as: "A little bit obsessive… almost fanatical." Centre Frank Bunce was one of seven starting All Blacks returning from that test for some revenge after their hosts were, in New Zealand eyes, ungracious winners.

PHOTOSPORT Frank Bunce and his midfield mate Walter Little fired back some sledging they'd received from England two years previous. JOHN SELKIRK/STUFF Coach Laurie Mains said Jonah Lomu was the most focused he'd seen him before the 1995 semifinal. In an interview in early 2015, the year he died at age 40, Lomu said his team-mates removed the TV from his room in the leadup and left him brooding over Underwood's comments. Mains said Lomu trained as well as he ever did that week in Cape Town. Said Bunce: "With Jonah you never really knew, but we were giving him heaps about Tony Underwood. JOHN SELKIRK/STUFF Jonah Lomu was near unstoppable in the 1995 World Cup semifinal against England. He doubled down on his pre-match wind-up by winking at Lomu during the haka, then for the next 80 minutes was left grasping at thin air or tossed about like a rag doll. Lomu left me on the ground, then trampled over both Will Carling and Mike Catt, and the onslaught started. PHOTOSPORT England wing Tony Underwood lived to regret his pre-match comments implying Jonah Lomu lacked pace. For Mains the match wasn't about revenge, but the execution of a long-range plan with England and their giant forward pack in their sights. Match their rivals up front, play at high speed and create space for Lomu, Wilson and Glen Osborne out wide. "England were a big side, who could throttle a team and close you right down, slow down all your second phase ball. Bunce felt it was the perfect storm for the All Blacks between eras of captain Sean Fitzpatrick and an experienced, battle-hardened pack, with Lomu, Wilson, Kronfeld and Andrew Mehrtens just beginning their own glittering careers. There was one more delicious moment for the All Blacks when they boarded the plane the next day and realised England were on the same flight. But there was one more week, and no fairytale ending for the men in black who lost the decider to the Springboks in extra time. Whatever the reasons for the All Blacks falling at the final hurdle, Kronfeld wondered if they left it all on Newlands the previous week. "In some ways we may have played the final before we even got there," he said. "As much as Jonah scored some spectacular tries, there was some amazing work that led up to him getting the ball. Rugby World Cup semifinal at Newlands, Cape Town, June 18, 1995: All Blacks 45 (Jonah Lomu 4, Josh Kronfeld, Graeme Bachop tries; Andrew Mehrtens 3 con, pen, dg; Zinzan Brooke dg) England 29 (Will Carling 2, Rory Underwood 2 tries; Rob Andrew 3 con, pen). All Blacks: Glen Osborne, Jeff Wilson, Frank Bunce, Walter Little, Jonah Lomu, Andrew Mehrtens, Graeme Bachop, Zinzan Brooke, Josh Kronfeld, Mike Brewer, Ian Jones, Robin Brooke, Olo Brown, Sean Fitzpatrick (c), Craig Dowd. England: Mike Catt, Tony Underwood, Will Carling (c), Jeremy Guscott, Rory Underwood, Rob Andrew, Dewi Morris, Dean Richards, Ben Clarke, Tim Rodber, Martin Bayfield, Martin Johnson, Victor Ubogu, Brian Moore, Jason Leonard. It was the greatest of all Jonah days — and the fact that England are playing New Zealand in a World Cup semi-final today has allowed all those memories to surface. Whatever happens in Yokohama today, nothing can ever match Jonah Lomu that afternoon in Cape Town in June 1995. Dean Richards has admitted England had no idea what to expect when they ran into New Zealand's force of nature winger Jonah Lomu in the 1995 World Cup semi-final. Richards played at number eight for England and witnessed the destruction at close hand. He told the PA news agency: "We didn't know too much about the New Zealanders, and they'd got a young lad called Jonah Lomu, who had started a little bit in the previous games, but nobody had really known about him or knew his capabilities or anything. "Yes, we may have discussed Jonah Lomu, but that was probably as much as we did do." Within two minutes, he had handed off winger Tony Underwood, blasted his way past centre Will Carling and literally run over full-back Mike Catt to touch down on his way to a four-try haul. I felt sorry for Tony Underwood, Mike Catt and those boys who could get near him. "But that's not taking anything away from Jonah because I thought he changed the way the game was played." New Zealand had effectively wrapped up the game long before the half-time whistle sounded with number eight Zinzan Brooke landing an outrageous long-range drop goal into the bargain. Richards said: "After 20 minutes, the game was lost, wasn't it? We scored four tries in the end, but the game was lost well before then. "Fair dos, I've always wanted to drop a goal from the halfway line, but to do it in a World Cup semi-final as well…" I think they've picked a team that can beat the All Blacks and if they perform, then they can win."