All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu has accepted he will never again wear the black jersey after failing to secure a 2007 Super 14 contract.
The professional game’s most famous player made his last test appearance in 2002 at the age of 27 and only two years ago had a kidney transplant. He stunned the world with a determined comeback and it is a miracle that he actually got onto the rugby field again to play at provincial level.
However, the giant of yesteryear was reduced to a ghost in a few appearances and most of his critics willed him to give it in and preserve the legacy.
Lomu, having been axed from the North Harbour senior side, has finally done this.
He told New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday that while some may see his comeback as a failure he didn’t. He added that he would rather have tried than spent the next 10 years wondering.
“I’d be lying if I said I’m not disappointed about not getting a Super 14 contract,” Lomu told Stephen Cooke. “But I have had a go. I would have been more disappointed if I didn’t have a go. I don’t feel I’ve let anyone down. I’ve given it my all. It’s been a failure in the sense I didn’t make the All Blacks but I certainly didn’t fail myself.
“I dared to dream. Who can criticise me for that?”
Lomu said reports last weekend claiming he had asked for $500,000 to keep him in New Zealand were false.
Lomu said his last formal discussions with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) were in 2003 when he was offered a $50,000 annual contract – compared to the estimated $400,000 he had been on previously.
Lomu said neither he nor his wife, Fiona, had met the NZRU to discuss a contract for next season.
“I’m not sure where this has come from. But we have certainly not asked for anything from the NZRU.”