Ten years ago Eric Rush was so impressed when a 14-year-old juggernaut ran over him in a touch game that he invited the kid to a Singapore sevens tournament - leaving the next day.

Now that kid has repaid the debt. Triple-try-scorer Jonah Lomu devastated Australia in the sevens World Cup final in Argentina.

"I remember this kid," Rush said. "Blimey, he could run. And he was as big then as he is now. I went up to him after the [touch] game and asked him if he wanted to play sevens in Singapore.

"He said, 'Oh yeah, sweet.'


"He was 10 years younger than anyone else in the team - but he was awesome.

"In the first game we said, 'We'll help you with the first kickoff, but after that you're on your own.'

"He scored the first try, kicked the goal and We beat this team 28-0."

The tour party went under the name Mongrels. They were beaten in the Singapore final by top Sydney club Randwick.

Two years later, Lomu invited Rush to Wesley College to coach their sevens team. From that stage, says Rush, "we kept running into each other around South Auckland."

Lomu said Rush had been a big part of his rugby career.

He remembers that Singapore tournament as if it were yesterday.

"He [Rush] said to me, 'Do you want to go to Singapore?' I said, 'Why not.' He said, 'How quick can you pack your bags?' I said, 'When do we go?' He said, 'Tomorrow'."


A famous rugby career was launched and that is why Lomu was stirred up in the World Cup final to repay his debt to Rush. "I've got a lot to be thankful for what Rushie has done for me."