Rugby Legend – Jonah Lomu In Dubai, UAE
It’s been almost 20 years since Jonah Lomu stunned international rugby audiences at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, when he scored seven tries in five matches, including four in the semi-final against England. Despite having just two All Black caps, Jonah Lomu was included in the squad.
The former All Blacks winger paid an impromptu visit to the UAE sevens squad who were training in Dubai last night, dishing out some advice and tips for the rugby players preparing for the Asian Sevens held in Hong Kong this September.
Lomu, now 40 years of age was visiting Dubai for a medical check up when he requested to meet up with Roelof Kotze and his 7’s squad who were training at the 7he Sevens stadium in Dubai.
The rugby legend ran through some drills with the lucky UAE squad who are currently preparing for the new domestic season as well as the Asian Sevens tournament, which will be held in Shanghai and Colombo during September and October.
The head coach of the UAE sevens squad, Roelof Kotze, was as shocked as the rest of the squad saying…
“It wasn’t at all planned. It was a last minute thing. He wanted to come to practice and asked if I minded.”
“A few of the players were shocked initially to see him there. He came in, observed the session for most of it then at one stage he just asked if I minded if he said one or two things and I said sure,” said Kotze.
“We were doing a drill and he just said he wanted to tell them one or two things about it, what they’re missing and one or two technical issues.”
“He called the boys in and gave them one or two pointers, on the technical aspects of the breakdown and communicating.”
“Communication has developed because there are guys that obviously don’t speak Arabic and guys that don’t speak English. He came on and told the guys they were too quiet. That was good because that’s what I’ve been telling them.”
Kotze added: “Afterwards the players all wanted to have their photos taken with him. It was really good and a nice evening. It was great for the guys. I’m sure everybody there was chuffed to see him and hear what he had to say.
He went on to pay tribute to Lomu, who also turned up at a training session in the UAE last year, when he was a guest at the opening of the 2014 UAE Rugby Annual Awards, saying: “He’s a nice guy. He was very complimentary, he said the guys were looking better than the last time he saw them. He thinks there’s been an improvement.”
“He was here for the UAE Rugby Annual Awards last year and attended one of our sessions and now he’s come out again, so it was nice to hear from him.”
“I spoke to him about coming again. When he’s around next I’ll definitely get him in. He always offers to come along when he’s here so perhaps next time we’ll just make it more formal.”
Lomu is currently on his Unstoppable UK Tour 2015 retired from rugby in 2007, but was persuaded to play in the Help For Heroes charity match at Twickenham a year later, although he had to withdraw after injuring his ankle in training.
He will be visiting Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Newcastle, Swansea, Manchester, Southampton, Leicester and London throughout September and October.