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'He could be incredible at this level' - Ireland excited about James Lowe's debut

The 28-year-old Leinster wing could make his debut against Wales next week.

James Lowe is set for his Ireland debut next week.
James Lowe is set for his Ireland debut next week.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MOST IRISH RUGBY fans already know all about James Lowe’s quality.

33 tries in 49 games is a serious strike record even in an excellent Leinster team that creates plenty of chances for their wide men. 

After three years of doing the business for his province, the 28-year-old is now in line to test himself at international level after being named as part of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup squad.

Having fulfilled three years of residency, Lowe is available for selection from the opening game of the campaign at home against Wales in a week’s time, and Ireland boss Andy Farrell is excited to see what he can offer.

Lowe has been training with Ireland in recent weeks so will already be feeling a little bit of familiarity in the set-up, meaning he will hope to hit the ground running against the Welsh.

“Potentially, we think he can be excellent,” said Farrell yesterday. “We want him to be himself. We’ve had him in the group so he can fit in seamlessly beforehand, so we’re not just throwing him in at the deep end.

“He’s had time to feel what the camp is like and I know that he has felt there’s a difference between the intensity and the pace of how you do things in an international camp, so that’s great for him to feel. He should be ready to go.”

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has been playing alongside Lowe for Leinster over the past three years and regularly uses the New Zealand native’s attacking qualities when he is calling plays.

Having watched Lowe cause havoc in blue at times, Sexton is convinced the wing has what it takes for Test rugby.

“He’s got prospects, outstanding prospects, to be incredible at this level,” said Sexton. “He’s thrived for Leinster at the highest club game in terms of Europe and he’s been a huge part of our success over the last three years.

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“He’s added to the environment off the pitch and he’s most definitely added to our performances on the pitch and he’s got an x-factor, a bit of special quality about him, and if he gets the chance to put on the green jersey I know it will mean a lot to him. It’s not something he will take lightly.

“He will be very proud, from speaking to him. I don’t think he came over here… I might be wrong, but I think he came over here with the sole purpose of trying something new.

“He seemed to fall in love with the place, he’s very dedicated to the environment in Leinster and I’m sure he will be the same if he gets the chance to put on the green jersey.”

The laidback Lowe is a fan of offloading the ball and has habits that add something new to the Ireland mix, with Farrell keen that he shows those abilities rather than going into his shell with the increased pressure.

“You select players because you feel like they can fit into your environment,” said Farrell. “What are his strengths? His strengths are that he doesn’t like getting tackled too much, doesn’t die with the ball either, he’s always going looking for work to make things happen.

“That’s what all the best wingers do – they try to make things happen and he obviously has to train well and prove to us that he deserves a spot within the squad over the next week or so.

“But we certainly don’t want to dampen any of the strengths that he’s got.

“He’s a free spirit, he’s a happy, go-lucky lad. He enjoys himself on the training field, not too much in the classroom, meetings, etc. Not too much there because he just wants to get out and run around with the ball. He’s a likable sort, let’s put it that way.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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