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Rugby World Cup moments: Jonah Lomu's masterclass against England

Having edged out Australia in the quarter-finals of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, England went into their semi-final showdown against New Zealand in Cape Town full of optimism.

However, any hopes of reaching the final were quickly dashed by the barnstorming brilliance of Jonah Lomu, who inspired the All Blacks to an emphatic 45-29 victory.

In what was a breakthrough tournament, Lomu had already been the star of the show, but the 20-year-old sensation scaled his greatest heights yet in that semi-final success with four tries in what was an utterly dominant display.

Jack Rowell's side were unable to live with the pace and power of Lomu, and his emergence had New Zealand believing they had unearthed the next big thing.

We look back at that historic success, remembering some of Lomu's key moments from the 1995 tournament and the rest of his career.

WhatRugby Union World Cup
WhereFrance
WhenFriday 8th September - Saturday 28th October 2023
How to watchITV
OddsNew Zealand 13/5, France 11/4, South Africa 9/2, Ireland 5/1, Australia 10/1

Lomu on fire as England suffer semis rout

Despite being just 20 and having earned only two caps for the All Blacks, Lomu was included in his country's squad for the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.

Lomu quickly rewarded that faith with two tries in his first match against Ireland in Johannesburg, before adding a try in a 48–30 quarter-final victory over Scotland at Loftus Versfeld.

A raw and bulky winger, but with an abundance of speed and power, Lomu had people watching rugby who didn't usually, and those qualities came to fruition in the last four against England.

Unfortunately for England, they saw the best of Lomu in that semi-final and, as the special ones so often do, he brought his best to the table on the biggest stage of all.

Lomu terrorised the England defence with four tries, the first of which went on to be voted as try of the tournament.

The fearless youngster had received a pass behind him, only to then beat two defenders and, after recovering from a stumble, run straight over the top of Mike Catt to go over the paint.

Lomu continually bulldozed his way past the English backs - Tony Underwood, Will Carling and Catt - and showed maturity beyond his years to put in a career-best performance in the biggest match of his life.

England were the stronger outfit in the second half as they opted for a more free-flowing style of play, but the damage had been done before half-time with the Red Rose unable to contain Lomu.

Despite that devastating 45-29 victory however, the All Blacks ended up losing a tense final to hosts South Africa at Ellis Park.

That final didn't suit the strengths of Lomu as it turned into a kicking masterclass, with the Springboks prevailing 15-12 in extra-time of a try-less contest. Joel Stransky was the hero on the day as his drop-goal secured the trophy for South Africa.

Lomu finished the 1995 tournament with seven tries from his five matches, and in 2002 the UK voted Lomu's performance against England as number 19 in the list of a 100 Greatest Sporting Moments

Lomu goes down as an All Blacks legend

Lomu went on to score 37 tries in 63 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, all despite being diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition in 1995.

It was a problem that eventually forced him to quit the game, and he had a kidney transplant in 2004. However, aged 40, Lomu sadly died from complications of kidney disease in November 2015.

But Lomu's legacy lives on and he will be fondly remembered as one of the greats of rugby both in New Zealand and around the world.

In 1998, at the Olympic Games in Kuala Lumpur, Lomu helped New Zealand claim gold, and three years later he inspired his country to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Lomu had a unique blend of power, size and speed that made him so formidable with ball in hand, which is why he excelled in Sevens.

Standing at 6ft 5ins, weighing in at 120kg and reportedly having the ability to run 100 metres in under 11 seconds, it was clear to see why Lomu had what it took to establish himself as an All Blacks legend.

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