James Lowe after Ireland's win in Bordeaux. Dan Sheridan/INPHO

'He’s been an awesome grandad' - Lowe's father flies in for the World Cup

The Ireland wing wants his side to build on a fine start against Romania.

IT MIGHT TAKE some getting used to for James Lowe if the Cranberries’ Zombie becomes a World Cup anthem for Ireland.

The song was blasted out at Stade de Bordeaux last weekend after their hammering of Romania, with the huge Irish crowd quickly getting behind a song that has become a big part of the repertoire in Munster recently.

“Em, ah, it’s a love-hate,” said Lowe with a smile.

“The boys down the road play it a lot, eh? No, it is a love-hate but sure look when they’re singing it for us, it sounds good.”

Among the crowd in Bordeaux was Lowe’s father, Geoff, who has made the trip to France from New Zealand for two months, covering the full World Cup.

Geoff was over in Ireland for the past fortnight, helping Lowe’s wife, Arnica, to mind their young baby, Nico, while his dad is away in France.

But Lowe’s father was over in Bordeaux in time for the action kicking off and he won’t miss a second of this Irish adventure in the World Cup.

“I don’t know where he is, he’s drinking pints on the outside, I haven’t seen him yet,” said Lowe after Ireland’s win.

“I’ll get him into the hotel, get a few brown liquors in, nothing too crazy, but can’t wait to see him.

“He’s been an awesome grandad for the last couple of weeks while I’ve been away so my wife is very, very happy with him.”

Lowe’s wife and son will be over too and he’s happy that the scorching heat in France recently is set to drop off, making things more comfortable for four-month-old Nico.

Out on the pitch last weekend, Lowe didn’t find it too comfortable. His left wing was in the direct sunlight for the entire first half in Bordeaux.

james-lowe Lowe was busy against the Romanians. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“Jeeze, it was hot out there,” said Lowe, while pointing out that Ireland’s pre-season had taken them to Portugal and Biarritz.

“Bloody Keith [Earls, Ireland's right wing] had the easy ride in the first half, but look everyone has to do it so you can’t really lean on that as an excuse.

“I played in Suva [in Fiji] before but that was different. That was muggy and very, very slippery.

“Actually, I feel like we handled the conditions quite well. I mean if you saw the New Zealand-France game, it was very, very slippy. When it gets any sort of dew from the boys’ jerseys and you get the ball on them, you actually drop passes and it’s literally because the ball is so slippery. But a couple of dry towels whenever you can and a little bit of sticky spray goes a long way.”

These are early days, but Lowe is already noticing how different the World Cup is.

He was won a Grand Slam, toured New Zealand, and played other Tests, yet there’s nothing like this tournament.

“It’s been intense man, it’s the World Cup,” he said. “The travelling support has been incredible. You can’t bloody get away from the Irish everywhere you go. Half the time, I’m sitting in my hotel because I’m too scared to go outside.

 “It’s a blessing and a curse. We absolutely love the travelling support. When we did a loop at the end there it was absolutely phenomenal. The amount of green that stood there and waited for us and cheered as we walked around was absolutely phenomenal.

“It’s a World Cup, we’re only a couple of hours off-shore, and it’s absolutely fantastic to see so many travelling.”

james-lowe Lowe found the heat in Bordeaux tough. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

It remains to be seen if Lowe features in Ireland’s second pool game against Tonga, with head coach Andy Farrell potentially mixing things up in Nantes, but the Leinster man was happy with the first outing.

12 tries is a fine return, even when accounting for Romania’s poor defence. The interplay between backs and forwards was particularly impressive from Ireland but they have much tougher challenges ahead.

“That’s what we train,” said Lowe. “We train under pressure and you want to test yourself in the harshest environment. We did it against Romania and next, we’ve got to do it against Tonga and the week after we’ve got to do it against South Africa.

 “It’s probably a good build-in to the big Test match being South Africa in our pool, and then a week off and then Scotland, so hopefully we can keep building and just get better and better.” 

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