Jonah Lomu missed 30% of his available games

Chris Stead 18 November 2015

Jonah Lomu

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 1994-2006Games playedTotal available fixturesPlay percentage
Tests for All Blacks639070%
Blues Super 12223367%
Chiefs Super 1281173%
Hurricanes Super 12293388%
Cardiff Pro 12 League102245%
Total Games13218970%
George Gregan Career 1994-2007Games playedTotal available fixturesPlay percentage
Test for Wallabies13915888%
Brumbies Super 1213614793%
Toulon French Top 14 League2828100%
Total Games30333391%

Picture: Global Sports Forum, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question