A public and very emotional memorial service took place at Eden Park in Auckland on Monday for All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, who died earlier this month at the age of 40.
Thousands turned up to bid farewell to Rugby Union’s first global superstar.
Lomu’s wife Nadene fought back the tears as she released the first of 40 white doves – a symbol of love and peace – one for each year of Lomu’s life.
Speaking about Lomu, Chairman of World Rugby Bernard Lapasset said: “His contribution to rugby cannot be overstated. He terrified the defences and thrilled spectators with a brand of running rugby that had never been seen before at the highest level”.
Tongan-born Lomu won 63 caps for New Zealand.
He scored a record 15 career World Cup tries, eight at the 1999 tournament – also a record.
Both records were only equalled this year.
Lomu had been suffering from a rare kidney disease since 95’ and was awaiting a second transplant.
The public service at the ground where the 1.95 metre tall, 120kg Lomu thundered down the touchlines was the final chance for his compatriots to pay their respects before a private funeral service later this week.