Rugby: Fiji, Samoa and Tonga can pull off big upsets in World Cup, warns Lomu

Former New Zealand rugby union player Jonah Lomu (centre) and members of the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club performing a Maori haka war dance in central London on Sept 16, 2015.
Former New Zealand rugby union player Jonah Lomu (centre) and members of the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club performing a Maori haka war dance in central London on Sept 16, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - Fiji are more than capable of stunning England in the Rugby World Cup opener on Friday. And the established forces of the sport had better watch out for Samoa and Tonga too, All Black great Jonah Lomu said.

The Fijians face the hosts in the tournament's first game in front of some 80,000 fans at Twickenham.

"Everyone is talking about the usual suspects in terms of who are going to win the tournament; the New Zealands, the Englands, the Irelands, the Wales," Lomu said.

"The problem is they forget about the Polynesian South Pacific Island boys and those guys have a game or two that they will upset a team somewhere along the line.

"In 2011, it was Tonga upsetting France and in 1991 it was Samoa upsetting Wales so this is what rugby brings... you never know what will happen in 80 minutes and whoever you think might win might not, so get out there and support your team."

Lomu is widely acknowledged as the first global superstar of the sport.

He shot to prominence at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, scoring four tries in the All Blacks' 45-29 defeat of England.

The Fijians must hope, however, for a below-par England. "They (Fiji) have got the team to be able do it, it's just putting it on the park and hoping that the other team doesn't play as well," the 40-year-old Lomu said.

"So that's what they'll be hoping for, but in saying that though, England at home at Twickenham with the support that they have... mate, that's going to be a formidable team to try to beat."