Cardiff Blues can today confirm that they have signed rugbys first global superstar Jonah Lomu.
The All Black legend will be available for Celtic, Heineken and Powergen competitions and is expected to arrive in Wales in mid November with a view to making his Blues debut in the first week of December.
Jonah Lomu first burst onto the scene during the 1995 World Cup in South Africa aged 19, he scored eight tries and helped New Zealand to reach the final. At 6ft 5 tall, weighing 19stone and running the 100m in 10.8 seconds Lomu is one of the most formidable players in the world game.
Lomu is keen to get as many games under his belt as possible in preparation for the 2007 Rugby World Cup after making a full recovery from a shoulder injury, sustained playing in Martin Johnsons testimonial match in June.
Robert Norster, Cardiff Blues Chief Executive:
Jonah is obviously a fantastic player and a massive addition to any side. The Cardiff Blues had a number of rivals for his signature but I think it shows our ambition and also reflects well on the progress of our national game that he has decided to play for us as he continues to rebuild his very impressive rugby career.
Commenting from New Zealand Jonah said:
The shoulder injury I incurred during the match in June took me out of the NPC season in New Zealand. My timed return to the game is New Zealands off season so the opportunity with the Cardiff Blues suits perfectly.
I look forward to joining the Blues later this year and to getting back on the rugby field. Its a really exciting time to be involved in Welsh rugby.
They are enjoying a real resurgence in the world game and as a country it shares the same passion and love for the sport that New Zealand does. I have always felt such great warmth from the Welsh. I've signed with the Cardiff Blue for seven months and don't come home until May. It is a big commitment but it also shows that I'm willing to go to those lengths to get to where I want to be (playing for the All Blacks).
This is the only way I can do it. I'll play for seven months for the Cardiff Blues then come back here and play for North Harbour in the NPC. The health is great; it's the least of my worries. My shoulder is doing really, really well. I saw the surgeon two days ago and he's very pleased with where it's at. Everything is on target.
I'm not expected in the UK until the middle of November, now it's just focusing on that and putting the training into overdrive and looking forward to playing for Cardiff Blues."
The Blues can also confirm that they have signed utility back Roger Warren from Leicester Tigers. The Samoan international holds the countrys record for the most points scored by a player in a test match when he scored twenty-four points on his international debut by kicking eight penalties.
David Young, Director of Coaching said:
We have strengthened our squad following injuries to two of our players: Nick Macleod and Dean Dewdney. Nick was recently diagnosed as suffering from a cervical disc injury and Dean underwent an operation on his groin.
Jonahs arrival is sure to strengthen our backline and we hope he will have and immediate impact on the whole squad. Jonah is a great ambassador for rugby and the Cardiff Blues supporters can look forward to him starring for the team in early December. Roger is also a player of great versatility with significant goal kicking ability and we are delighted they are both set to join the team.
Jonah's first interview since signing for the Blues was broadcast on BBC2 Wales Scrum V programme. Watch the interview here>>