Fi­nal whis­tle

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

WHEN rugby fans and his­to­ri­ans de­bate the great play­ers of the game, Jonah Lomu will al­ways be near the top of any list. But there will be no de­bate Lomu, who died sud­denly on Wed­nes­day af­ter bat­tling kid­ney dis­ease for nearly two decades, was the first truly global su­per­star of the game.

The All Black’s in­cred­i­ble per­for­mances at the 1995 Rugby World Cup helped rugby to achieve a new level of world­wide recog­ni­tion.

Lomu’s ex­ploits di­rectly led to an ex­plo­sion of tele­vi­sion in­ter­est in the sport, which led to the for­ma­tion of the Tri-Na­tions tour­na­ment be­tween the Spring­boks, the All Blacks and the Wal­la­bies. South African rugby also suf­fered a loss this week with the death of former Western Prov­ince and Spring­bok cen­tre John Gains­ford. A stal­wart in the blue-and-white WP jer­sey, Gains­ford played 33 Tests, scor­ing eight tries for the Boks, and is widely re­garded as one of the best cen­tres to have played for his coun­try.

We salute Lomu and Gains­ford and of­fer our con­do­lences to their fam­i­lies.

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