It was a great shock to read about the death of Jonah Lomu. Many of the tributes have rightly said how he changed rugby in a time when it was on the cusp of professionalism.
He inspired many to take up the game, though few would have wanted to be opposite him! His legacy is that all big wingers in the future will be compared to him. Currently Julian Savea and George North might be seen as the “new” Lomus. But, no one really believes that he will be matched.
The All Blacks used him as a strike runner from a number of moves. As a tribute to Lomu, we are today reproducing the “Lomu pop”, which took advantage of his excellent timing. He was more than just a big man moving quickly.
Along with the rest of the rugby world, our thoughts go out to his family and friends. A true giant in the game. RIP Jonah Lomu.
The Lomu pop
This great backs move uses the skills embodied by late Jonah Lomu. A clever way to bring a winger into the game, but this move needs a skilful 10 to release the ball almost “blind” to the winger.
Why it works
The first “dummy switch” will hold the player marking 10. 10 can then straighten up to attack the player who was marking 12. n
With 13 drifting out, it should create the space for 11 to go through the gap between 10 and 13.
Good if you have
A 10 who is a good timer of the “blind pass” and has played quite a bit with 11.
A strong running 11.
Already performed a “switch” with 12.
An opposition 12 who is a weak tackler.
What players should do
10 goes forwards then moves sideways, performs a “dummy switch” with 12, before “popping” the ball to 11.
12 moves on a “dummy switch” with 10.
13 starts close to 12 and then moves wide to allow 11 to move through the gap.
11 starts behind 10 and then “arcs” out to appear just outside 10’s shoulder to take a “pop pass”.
12 runs too early and does not interest the defence.
10 passes the ball too early to the winger, so there is no element of surprise. 10 should also be looking to hide the ball when performing the “dummy switch”.
11 stands too close to 10 before the move starts. 11 must come from as far away as possible without compromising the arrival time.
10 stopping at the “tackle line” and almost moving backwards before passing the ball.
10 stepping in just before the pass to create a little more space for 11.
13 starting wide anyway to try to create the gap.
“Looking back, my whole life seems so surreal. I didn’t just turn up on the doorstep playing rugby; I had to go through a whole lot of things to get there.”
The late Jonah Lomu, former New Zealand rugby player, generally regarded as the first true global superstar of the rugby union.