PNG Rugby Football Union general manager Frank Genia said coming from a background of cricket, he and his brother Wallabies player, Will Genia, only came to know the code through the Lomu Play Station video game after arriving in Brisbane in 1999.
Genia said when their mum told them to buy something to keep them busy, they bought Lomu’s Play Station and playing it influenced them to take up rugby.
“Our interest in the code developed through that Play Station game and that is how we ended up playing rugby from schools to club to representative level,” Genia said.
He said from then on Will went on to represent the Wallabies and he played for the Pukpuks (2008).
PNG Sports Foundation chief executive officer Peter Tsiamalili Jr said while he was in Fiji in 1993, he had the opportunity to meet Lomu and was encouraged to stay committed to the game by the New Zealand-born Tongan.
New Zealand High Commissioner Tony Fautua said Lomu was the sport’s true global superstar.
He said Lomu was nicknamed the ‘Dark Destroyer’ after bursting onto the international rugby scene during the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
Fautua said at one time, Lomu was considered rugby union’s biggest drawcard and could pull in crowds of die-hard and casual fans to matches he played in.
He said despite Lomu’s international fame he was a shy, soft-spoken man.
A public funeral for Jonah Lomu is set for today at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. The National/One PNG