All Blacks greats have united to pay tribute to Jonah Lomu with a powerful haka as thousands of fans packed a memorial service at Eden Park, the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby.
A grim-faced Buck Shelford led more than 20 former internationals in a Ka Mate haka while the legendary winger’s casket was carried into a hearse. Former team-mates including Tana Umaga, Justin Marshall and John Kirwan joined the emotional tribute on the turf that Lomu once dominated as a player.
“Jonah, you were a freak on the field and a gentle, caring giant off it,” former All Blacks coach John Hart said.
A Maori mourning chant echoed around the Auckland stadium as Lomu’s black casket was carried through the players’ tunnel, preceded by an honour guard of tattooed warriors.