Former All Blacks great Jonah Lomu has expressed sadness that the New Zealand Rugby Union failed to give him a job after his 2004 retirement from rugby, consigning him to a monotonous life of doing sponsorship work for Adidas, staging numerous rugby comebacks and collecting royalties for his autobiography, which he coincidentally launched a new edition of today.
Lomu spoke at length on TVNZ’s Breakfast show this morning where said he was disappointed with the attitude that the NZRU had taken with him post his playing days, “It was hugely disappointing,” Lomu said, “I tried everything to keep myself in the headlines, injuring myself, getting a kidney transplant, dressing in pimp suits, having a public falling out with my manager, doing ‘This is your life’, but the NZRU wouldn’t give me a job. I even offered them my services at a hugely discounted rate of one bucket load of money less than what Adidas was paying me.”
Having permanently changed the style of wingers that the Hurricanes select, Lomu said he was still struggling to make the adjustment from professional sports star to endorsement extraordinaire, “I went from a fairly rigorous training and travel schedule with the All Blacks to having to wine and dine international celebrities, get interviewed by star-struck journalists such as you, and smile for photos that are just going to be replaced by video clips of my 1995 World Cup exploits. People just don’t know how hard it is to travel in business class and get put up a five-star hotels all of the time.”
Lomu went on to complain that “If that’s not enough, now I have to try and get people to buy yet another edition of my autobiography, and make them forget that everything they could read in there has already played out in the media over the past few years, so they won’t be surprised by any new content.”
The legendary All Black also added, “It’d make a great gift for that awkward uncle who you never quite know what to buy them.”