Lomu went nowhere, instead scoring 37 tries in his 63 tests, before being forced out of the game with a kidney disorder in 2002. Yet, he had already established his place among the greats of rugby, a phenomenal athlete who also rode the wave of professionalism washing through the sport in the 1990s to become its first millionaire.

There was a glimmer of hope about a return in 2004, after a kidney transplant, but his comeback never really picked up steam. In all, Lomu played 185 first class games with 122 tries to his name.

In his final days, Lomu was still fighting. His kidneys nearly failed on him in 2011, immediately after he starred in the opening ceremony at the Rugby World Cup. He recovered but the struggle continued.

“My goal is to make it to the boys’ 21sts,” Lomu told the Daily Mail in August this year about his two sons, then aged six and five. “There are no guarantees that will happen, but it’s my focus. It’s a milestone that every parent wants to get to. My dad died young and that makes you think.”

Sadly, it turned out to be a goal too far for even the great Jonah Lomu.

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