Wales

Wales pays tribute to New Zealand rugby's Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu Image copyright PA
Image caption Jonah Lomu played 10 games for Cardiff Blues in 2005 and 2006

Wales has joined the world in paying tribute to New Zealand rugby union legend Jonah Lomu who has died aged 40.

Lomu had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition by 1996.

Former Wales captain Jonathan Davies said his death was a "devastating loss" while current captain Sam Warburton tweeted that Lomu was "the first reason I wanted to play rugby".

He has been dubbed a "phenomenon" by Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby legend Sir Gareth Edwards.

Lomu played 10 games for Cardiff Blues in 2005 and 2006 shortly before retiring.

Warburton dubbed Lomu an "inspiration and true legend" while Jonathan Davies described him as one of the game's greatest.

Welsh reaction to the death of Jonah Lomu, as it happened.

He tweeted: "RIP Jonah you were a true legend and a gentleman. You changed the game of rugby and will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with your family."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Tweets from Sam Warburton, George North and Nigel Owens paying tribute to Jonah Lomu

Welsh international rugby referee Nigel Owens tweeted that Lomu was a "great player but more importantly a great man".

Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby legend and Cardiff Blues board member Sir Gareth Edwards echoed the sentiment, telling BBC Radio Wales: "He was an absolute phenomenon at the time and indeed has been a great ambassador to the sport and a lovely gentleman."

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Media captionSir Gareth Edwards pays tribute to Jonah Lomu

The son of Tongan immigrants, Lomu was diagnosed with the rare kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome in 1996, which eventually forced him out of the international scene in 2002 at the age of 27.

He had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011.

Lomu was regarded as rugby union's first superstar.

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