The day Jonah Lomu turned out for a small Welsh club and how they are paying him back
A Welsh rugby club is set to repay a kind gesture from late All Blacks great Jonah Lomu.
Lomu was revered in Wales’ Port Talbot region after he held a free training session at Aberavon Naval club in 2008 and played in a charity match that raised thousands of pounds.
The club has since folded but now some of the former players are hoping to return the favour to assist the trust formed after Lomu’s 2015 death.
“A couple of us decided to see if we could do something as a means of saying thanks for what Jonah did for us all those years ago,” former Aberavon Naval Stuart Broad told Wales Online.
“So we’re having a Jonah Lomu legacy match at Aberavon Harlequins rugby ground.
“Some of the boys who used to play for us when Jonah came to the club are coming out of retirement to play. I’m sure there will be a good turnout.
“There are some great people in Aberavon and all over Wales who I’m certain will want to pay tribute to a great man and help those he left behind.”
The match to raise funds for the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust will be held on November 16.
Broad also revealed how the idea to invite Lomu to Aberavon Naval came about.
“One guy suggested we contact Jonah Lomu’s agent to see if Jonah would come down to the club,” Broad said.
After hearing about late All Black Jerry Collins’ appearance for English club Barnstaple they thought it was worth a try.
“It was a bit of a long shot, but we had nothing to lose and make contact we did,” Broad continued.
“To our surprise, the agent got back to say Jonah would be up for it…”
Lomu held a training session at Aberavon Naval – attended by 1000 people, including club players, school children and Welsh test prop Adam Jones.
“He could not have been more humble,” Broad told Wales Online.
“We’d all read that he was a gentle giant and he fitted that description perfectly.
“He fitted in with all the lads and was just so comfortable.
“You wouldn’t have believed you were sitting next to a world rugby icon, the game’s first global superstar, perhaps.”
Lomu played in the charity game for Aberavon Naval against a Port Talbot XV in November 2008, in front of a large crowd.
Broad remembers the former All Blacks wing terrorising the opposition. “One guy went flying backwards. They had to bring smelling salts onto the field to revive him,” he said.
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