Family fears for Lomu's health

WELLINGTON: The father of All Black Jonah Lomu fears the giant wing, stricken by a kidney ailment, may put his life on the line to play at this year’s World Cup in Australia. 

“Our family is extremely worried for him,’’ said Semisi Lomu. “The World Cup is not worth his life.’’ 

Semisi Lomu said he did not agree with Jonah’s assessment of his health improvement since he began three-times-a-week dialysis treatment last month. 

Lomu, 28, suffered kidney failure as a result of the rare illness nephritis and is on a waiting list for an organ transplant. 

He has since said repeatedly he intends to return to rugby as early as next month and to play at his third World Cup in October and November. 

“I’ve always dreamed of Jonah being in a World Cup-winning All Black team,’’ Semisi said. 

“That’s always been his dream, too. But right now I would rather seem him get back to good health than see him holding the World Cup. 

“He needs to turn his mind off rugby and the World Cup and focus solely on getting better. He’s thinking too far ahead.’’ 

Semisi Lomu said his son may be “getting pushed by people’’ to return to the playing field. Jonah is the world’s best-known and highest-paid player and his endorsement and other contracts are jeopardised by his illness. 

His presence at the World Cup would be a major plus for tournament organisers, sponsors and broadcasters. 

Jonah Lomu said in a personal statement published on his web site Monday that he was feeling well after a month of dialysis. 

“I feel stronger now than I did at the last World Cup. I am back training when I am not on dialysis and when the Wellington Lions get back into training I will be with them.’’ 

Lomu said he intended to play for Wellington in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship which begins in August. 

Semisi Lomu said Jonah’s family did not share his buoyant view of his health. 

“He is not the Jonah I know,’’ Semisi said. 

“I’ve seen him break into tears. Jonah is not usually like that.’’ 

Semisi Lomu made his comments while confirming Jonah’s engagement to his live-in partner Fiona Taylor, 30.  

He said the engagement, Jonah’s fourth, had received his blessing. 

Jonah was married for two years to South African Tanya Rutter, whom he met at the 1995 World Cup. His parents were not invited to the wedding ceremony. – AP 

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