An Irish columnist has slammed the French Rugby Union for using Jonah Lomu's two sons to promote a bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Brayley (8) and Dhyreille (7) attended the official presentation in London overnight as France contend with Ireland and South Africa to win the hosting rights for the tournament. The winning bid will be announced in November.

The French delegation was led by FFR President Bernard Laporte and ex-player Sebastian Chabal while the late Jonah Lomu's two sons were also front and centre.

Having the children of an All Blacks great front a French campaign might be considered a tenuous link but Lomu is seen as a rugby legend across the world.


Jonah Lomu, who passed away in November 2015 aged 40, played just one season for Marseille Vitrolles in 2009. The giant winger made his test debut against France in 1994 and scored a double in the famous 1999 semifinal defeat.

Jack O'Toole, columnist for the Irish Independent said using the sons of the All Blacks great was different to the Ireland Rugby Union leaning on well-known Irish stars to promote their bid.

"Marketing Bono, Bob Geldof and Liam Neeson in videos is one thing, throwing Brayley and Dhyreille Lomu into a press conference is something else entirely," he writes.

"When you advertise #France2023 on your playing jerseys and offer to pay £30m over the tournament hosting fee, it's just desperate.

Brayley and Dhyreille Lomu at the French presentation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty
Brayley and Dhyreille Lomu at the French presentation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty

"But when you pluck two kids out of a country on the other side of the world and drop them into the middle of your facade to accentuate their link to their deceased father, it's just desperately insensitive and depressingly sad."

The All Black's widow Nadene Lomu told French publication LeParisien that she shouldn't turn down the offer to have her two sons help with the 2023 bid.
"I could not refuse the proposal," said she.

"I talked to the children. They were very excited," Lomu added.

"For us, France is our second home. Dhyreille was born in Marseille. He tells everyone that he is French. Jonah loved this country very much and we feel good about it. We will leave as late as possible. I am very touched to see how people react when we talk about Jonah, even here. He is still very present in their hearts. "

According to French reports when asked if they want to be All Blacks the boys responded: No, we want to play for France."

Laporte hailed the boys' appearance, saying: "It is very moving to have them with us, very good of them to have come all the way from New Zealand."

Jonah Lomu was a major part of the opening ceremony at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.