What would the reaction be if Barry Sanders came out of retirement to play for a club in the AFL2? Or even worse, if Emmitt Smith put on a Cardinals uniform. Imagine either scenario, if you will, while trying to absorb the tale of New Zealand rugby union dynamo Jonah Lomu turning out for Cardiff Blues. From The Independent’s Chris Hewitt.

Jonah Lomu has played bigger teams than Ghial Rugby Calvisano in the course of his astonishing union career; indeed, in terms of acreage, he is probably bigger than Calvisano itself. It is to be confidently expected, therefore, that the unusually substantial New Zealander will put one or two tries past the underpowered Italians when he makes his debut for Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup tie at the Centro Sportivo San Michele tomorrow.

Lomu (above) has been on Cardiff’s books for only a few weeks, having pitched up from All Black country last month, and it is fair to say that there are those who continue to see his signing as a publicity stunt of the most blatant kind. He has not played a full game of rugby since undergoing kidney transplant surgery last year and, despite personal assurances to the contrary, the sceptics assume that two current accounts – one belonging to the club, the other to the player himself – will benefit rather more from his unlikely sojourn in South Wales than the long-suffering paying public at the Arms Park.

There is, however, no denying that the Big Bloke is willing to give it his best shot. Yesterday the Blues named Lomu in their starting line-up for the immediate business down Brescia way, and if he survives a reasonable chunk of the 80 minutes ahead of him he will present himself before the home supporters when the Italians pay their return visit to Cardiff a week tomorrow. Jolly Jonah twice in seven days? It is enough to make their underdogs wonder whether they might have been better off sticking with football.