altMarch 17 - Jonah Lomu today became the latest international star to throw his weight behind rugby’s campaign for Olympic re-inclusion at the 2016 Games.

The former New Zealand star was in Dubai earlier this month to watch the World Cup Sevens 2009 and he follows Lawrence Dallaglio, Bryan Habana, Agustin Pichot and Anastassiya Khamova in backing the sport's bid.


Lomu played for New Zealand when they won the gold medal in sevens at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.


He said: “It would be fantastic for rugby and fantastic for the Games.


“Playing the Commonwealth Games ranks as one of my greatest memories and it opened my eyes to what it must be like as a part of the Olympic family.


"It was something I savoured and I just wish I could have competed for an Olympic gold medal.”


“Sevens has all the right ingredients.


"It is explosive, exciting, unpredictable and gives the opportunity for smaller rugby nations to cause major upsets as demonstrated in Dubai.


“It is effective in reaching new audiences, broadcasters and sponsors and I think Sevens would be a popular addition to the Games.


“Look at Kenya, they are competing with the top five teams and are now actually knocking them off, while Argentina and USA are also challenging.


"It is great for rugby around the world."


Kenya defeated Fiji in the quarter-finals in Dubai – the first of four upsets in the round of eight that also saw England, South Africa and New Zealand crash out.


The men’s semi-final line-up also saw four continents represented in Kenya, Argentina, Samoa and Wales, the eventual winners.


He said: “Being a part of the Olympic Games would serve to boost the development of rugby worldwide.


"Not just for the teams who were competing in Dubai, but in reaching out and developing new markets. It is a very exciting prospect.


“Sevens launched my career and I would not have been the player or person that I am without it.


"I enjoyed the experience immensely and the special attributes of camaraderie and respect that comes with being on the sevens circuit.


“The top players would come and play in an Olympic Games tournament and would be proud to be Olympians.


"I have no doubt about that.