November 16, 2012
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Lomu overwhelmed by Fijian honour

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu celebrated his colorful career in style as he unveiled a plaque in Fiji's Rugby Town, Sigatoka yesterday.

Lomu who is the ambassador of  an international rugby 7s tournament currently played in Sigatoka was moved by the ceremony which attracted hundreds of well wishers.

 He unveiled the plaque on the footpath in the centre of  the Sevens Walk of Fame and became the third 7s legend to have his name inducted after Waisale Serevi and David Campes, the previous ambassadors of the tournament.

"That sort of welcome still humbles me and I guess what makes it even more special is that we are in Fiji and when you are talking sevens, you can't go past Fiji," Lomu told the New Zealand Herald.

"There are no doubts at all that Fiji is the home of sevens. When you look at who has won the World Cup sevens and also win-loss ratios, there are not many teams that come near Fiji. They lose so many players each year because they go off-shore to make a living, but they just seem to replace them without any problem.

 "It is like a factory here turning out sevens players."

"For me, it is quite humbling to be put up with two greats in Waisale Serevi and David Campese. In my first year playing sevens in Hong Kong in 1994, I went to meet Serevi in his room and couldn't believe it."

"The previous year I was sitting in my school dormitory lounge watching him play sevens, so to get to rub shoulders with him now and call him my friend is a dream come true in a lot of ways."

"With me and Campo, we had a battle over who owns the No11, so it is a great honour and privilege to be recognised and honoured in this way."

Lomu expects to see colossal growth in the sevens game now it is an Olympic sport but also because it is the perfect fit for the diverse cultural and physical disparity around the world.

He says no matter who you are or where you are from, sevens is a one-size-fits-all fix.

"Sevens is definitely close to my heart and it is what will grow the game worldwide. It is a marketing dream for one, but it is also important that anyone can play it, whereas the 15-man game is not feasible for all teams to play.

"It is also feasible for smaller nations to be able to hold tournaments as it is more affordable for them. I think that is one of the catalysts for me in terms of what sevens can do for different countries," he added.



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