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Lomu tips All Blacks for glory

Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu has backed New Zealand to end 24 years of hurt and win the World Cup on home soil, declaring: "This is our time."

Despite consistently being the number one-ranked team in the world, the All Blacks have not won the World Cup since they hosted the inaugural tournament in 1987.

Lomu, who starred for the All Blacks at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, said: "I've got the feeling this is our time. This team has proven it can cope with pressure-cooker situations. On our home turf we should have the talent and the mental strength to pull it off."

He added: "I can't wait for that first game to kick off and this country to light up in a way it never has before."

Fly-half Dan Carter and captain Richie McCaw grab all the headlines - but it is the All Blacks' centre partnership that Lomu believes could be the difference.

"Ma'a Nonu is on fire at the moment and his combination with (Conrad) Smith in the centres can be devastating," said Lomu.

"Everyone talks about the importance of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw but that centre pairing can score a lot of points for the All Blacks."

New Zealand face Tonga in the opening game of the World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland next Friday.