Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Irish can't repeat error rate, warns legend Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu insists that Ireland can't afford a repeat of last week's below-par display and must "front up" against New Zealand on Sunday to have any chance of ditching their winless streak against the visitors.

"Everybody has got a shot," said Lomu, who scored three tries in four winning appearances against the Irish between 1995 and 2002.

"Especially when you have a guy like Brian O'Driscoll in the team. You've got to front up.

"If Ireland don't front up, it's going to be a long day at the office.

"I was a bit disappointed in Ireland against Australia. Australia played well, but the Irish boys played well under par, especially with the strength in your forward pack."

Lomu believes the All Blacks can only reflect on a good year if they maintain their perfect record for 2013 this weekend.

"They have to win on Sunday or else it won't be anything close to a perfect year.

"They've been very special to watch. It's been exciting to watch the growth and depth in New Zealand rugby – especially bearing in mind they're building towards 2015.

"That's the thing about New Zealand. If someone gets injured, someone else can step in.

"That transition from losing a Dan Carter or a Richie McCaw or Conrad Smith, the positions are covered."

As for retaining the Webb Ellis Cup that McCaw handed back to the IRB in Dublin this week, Lomu counsels caution.

"There's a lot of rugby to be played between now and then," he warned.

Lomu once noted drily that he would rather play with his children than watch "Scotland play Ireland with French commentary" but he is excited by some of the developing talents since he retired in 2002.

"When I get the chance to watch rugby, there are definitely exciting reasons to watch it. There are a lot of young guys who are starting to change the way the game is played," he said.

With Ireland struggling to fill gaping holes on the wing this weekend, they could do with someone of Shane Horgan's vintage to stem the All Black tide and Lomu immediately recalls one of those rare species – a player who managed to, at least occasionally, shackle the great New Zealander.

"He's a great mate, Shane Horgan," said Lomu of the Leinster legend.

"He was very strong and I always looked forward to marking him.

"We matched up quite well and I always knew it would be a physical challenge."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph