Jonah Lomu missed 30% of his available games
As the rugby world mourns today the loss of one of its most amazing players, one key statistic highlights the unlikelihood of Jonah Lomu's legendary status. Plus: how does he compare with his contemporary George Gregan?
Today, Jonah Lomu, New Zealand All Black great, passed away. Despite his unstoppable wrecking ball performances on the field, he was always fighting a losing battle on the inside. Lomu suffered from nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that was impacting him as early as the 1995 World Cup. It led to a transplant in 2004, but sadly his body rejected it in 2011 and he was on dialysis up to his death. According to family, it was unexpected.
Taking a closer look at his career, Jonah Lomu contributed to four major clubs as well as starring for the All Blacks in the test arena, where he was the youngest player in nearly 90 years to pull on the jersey when he marched out against the French in 1994. Despite his health concerns, he managed to contribute 132 games to the 189 for which he was technically available – a playing percentage of 70%.
While we’re impressed that he managed to play such a high percentage of games despite his ongoing health issues, it’s not a huge number of appearances. As such, it’s impressive just how big a mark he made in the greater Rugby consciousness and indeed the sporting world in such a relatively small number of games.
When you look at the likes of George Gregan – a contemporary who made a similar mark on the sport during the same career span – the difference in numbers is extraordinary. Gregan played 303 games, but few would argue that the name "Lomu" is any less iconic as "Gregan."
Take a look at the numbers below; RIP Jonah Lomu.
|Jonah Lomu Career 1994-2006||Games played||Total available fixtures||Play percentage|
|Tests for All Blacks||63||90||70%|
|Blues Super 12||22||33||67%|
|Chiefs Super 12||8||11||73%|
|Hurricanes Super 12||29||33||88%|
|Cardiff Pro 12 League||10||22||45%|
|George Gregan Career 1994-2007||Games played||Total available fixtures||Play percentage|
|Test for Wallabies||139||158||88%|
|Brumbies Super 12||136||147||93%|
|Toulon French Top 14 League||28||28||100%|
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