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'Garry Ringrose's school bought a horse. It won so he's just upgraded houses!'

James Lowe was an effervescent presence once again as Leinster won the Pro14 last night.

Murray Kinsella reports from Glasgow

A SCOTTISH JOURNALIST ventures a question and James Lowe can’t resist cutting across him.

“Crikey, you’ve some accent, lad!” says Leinster’s Kiwi wing with a broad grin, as effervescent a presence as ever off the pitch – where he possesses the same vibrancy that makes him so potent on it.

James Lowe and Cian Healy celebrate with teammates after winning the Guinness PRO14 Final Lowe celebrates Leinster's Pro14 success. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Lowe is always ready with a joke, praising his team-mates while getting a good slagging in with his next sentence.

Asked about Garry Ringrose’s try in the first half of Leinster’s Guinness Pro14 final win over Glasgow at Celtic Park, Lowe gives us an example.

“His school just bought a horse,” says Lowe of ex-Blackrock College man Ringrose. “It’s called something stupid like The Fame, and it won so he’s just upgraded houses!

“Man, he’s an awesome athlete, he’s an awesome dude off the pitch, one of the nicest men you will ever meet, and that’s the nitty gritty that gets you over the line.

“Garry probably doesn’t do all the fancy stuff but what he does do, he’s got huge impacts on the game. He’s got a huge future for such a young man.”

Lowe himself is only 26 and surely has plenty of good times ahead of him. He will qualify to play for Ireland in November 2020 and it looks close to a certainty that the Nelson native will make the step up to Test rugby at that point.

Yesterday, he was simply delighted to be sitting with a medal around his neck, his long hair resting on his shoulders as he looked forward to a big night with his Leinster team-mates.

James Lowe and Jack Conan celebrate Lowe gets a kiss from Jack Conan. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

While Lowe did play in the Pro14 final last season, he had to sit out the Champions Cup final success over Racing 92 due to the non-European players rule, while he tasted defeat in this campaign’s European decider against Saracens. Every medal is welcome.

“It’s cool,” says Lowe. “If you told me three years ago that I’d be sitting here talking to you guys trying to decipher your accents, I would have called your bluff.

“But it’s awesome to come over here and learn. I’ve still got so much to give to the game, I feel, so it’s an exciting time. Where Leinster is at the moment, there’s only room for improvement.”

The dejection Leinster felt after losing to Saracens in Newcastle two weekends ago was severe and Lowe admits it added to the province’s sheer need to beat Glasgow at Celtic Park yesterday.

“I related it to Liverpool. Such a good team but if they don’t win a trophy, they’ll see it as a bad season even though they’re such a good team. We learned a lot from Newcastle, we probably got stuck in fourth gear.

“Credit to Sarries putting us under enormous pressure but we learned over these last two weeks and if we didn’t perform today, all of that was just talk. The fact that we were able to close it out was awesome.

“Glasgow are such an expansive, rugby-playing team. I played under Rens [Dave Rennie], their head coach, for five years and when they’ve got the ball they want to score. When they don’t, they’re trying to get the ball back. They’ve got some amazing athletes, some young talent, Scotland’s future is pretty bright.”

James Lowe is congratulated by Dave Rennie after winning the Guinness PRO14 Final Lowe worked under Dave Rennie at the Chiefs. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Leinster are sure to come across the Warriors several more times in the coming years as the Scots look for their first Pro14 title since 2015 but last night, Lowe was more worried about getting back to his team-mates. 

“It’s been 40-odd weeks of work so to come away with a medal is always very good. We used 57 players this year and only 23 got to represent today, but it’s not just about us, it’s about all the boys who have put in the work throughout the year and come away with a medal.

“I couldn’t be any happier.”

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Murray Kinsella

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