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Dublin: 5°C Monday 17 May 2021

'When the discussion comes, it comes': Lowe not thinking about Ireland future

The Leinster winger harbours ambitions of playing international rugby, but it’s too soon to start thinking about pulling on the green jersey.

SUCH HAS BEEN his impact, it’s strange to think it was only this week 12 months ago that James Lowe arrived in Dublin but the Kiwi is now very much part of the Leinster family.

Lowe made an instant impression at the province, his performances on the pitch helping Leinster to a dream double while his infectious personality and attitude off it has seen him became an integral member of the dressing room and a firm fan’s favourite. 

James Lowe breaks to score their fifth try 12/10/2018 Lowe has scored six tries this season. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 26-year-old provided a glimpse of his devastating talent during his debut season in Dublin, but his game appears to have moved up another level this term, the winger crossing six times to take his overall strike-rate in blue to 16 tries in just 19 appearances.

“I’m a lot more familiar, to be fair, and I’ve been here a while and understand the systems inside out, understand the players around me and they’re starting to understand me as well,” he told The42.

“I think my rugby is just getting better because I understand what they need from me, and they understand what I can do as well.

It’s crazy it has been a year already. The rugby is going good and I’m enjoying my time here, although the weather has taken a dark turn but we’re happy with how everything is going.

With the benefit of a full pre-season behind him, not to mention a proper summer rest having arrived last November off the back of Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup campaigns, Lowe has been in eye-catching form.

See his brilliant double against Munster at the Aviva Stadium, his moment of pure magic in the Heineken Champions Cup opener against Wasps or just his general contributions on and off the ball as prime examples of why he has become a lethal weapon for Leinster.

Having started six games already this term, Lowe was excused from duty for the province’s round eight trip to South Africa and will enjoy some time off during the November break with his parents, who arrived from New Zealand yesterday.

The Lowes will spend time travelling around Ireland in the coming days, with Belfast the first stop on the itinerary before they make their way down the west coast, and return to Dublin in time for Ireland’s clash with the All Blacks on 17 November. 

“It’s going to be huge, I mean the All Blacks have England this weekend which is going to be big but that All Blacks-Ireland Test will be the Test of the year I feel,” Lowe says.

“It’ll be really interesting to see how it goes.”

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The big question is, what colour jersey will he be wearing? “I’ll have my hood up, don’t you worry.

“It’s going to be mental, there’s going to be Kiwis coming out of the woodwork. All the Irish here are going to be crazy, it’s going to be some night. I’m looking forward to it.”


Having left his dream of playing for the All Blacks behind when he departed the Chiefs for Leinster, Lowe is now very much on Ireland’s radar with the winger arriving just in time to be eligible under the three-year residency rule before it was extended to five years.

It means Lowe — as Johnny Sexton pointed out recently — would become Irish qualified in 2020, but he isn’t really giving the prospect of representing Ireland too much thought at the minute.

“Probably not this far out, to be fair,” he explains. “My girlfriend and I are really enjoying our time here. Life is pretty… everything is on a platter, everything we’ve always needed since we’ve got here. It would be silly… I mean we’ve got two more years here [on his contract] and when the discussion comes, it comes. We’re just enjoying our time.

“I’ve always wanted to play international rugby and test myself against the best. I mean that European Cup stuff, that gets up there. Hopefully I’m allowed to play this year, if we do make it the whole way. One step at a time though.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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