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'I'd love to see him play Test rugby' - Michael Lowry continues to shine

The 22-year-old Ulster playmaker scored a cracking try against Harlequins on Sunday.

Lowry breaks away against Harlequins.
Lowry breaks away against Harlequins.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WHILE IT WAS a remarkable moment on a rugby weekend full of thrills, Michael Lowry’s latest impressive act for Ulster hardly came as a surprise.

The 22-year-old has been in brilliant form all season for the northern province and stood out for Dan McFarland’s side once again during Sunday’s Challenge Cup round-of-16 win away to Harlequins as he scored a wonderful try.

The 5ft 7ins fullback/out-half’s ever-growing quality has been a consistent theme on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every week. 

Analyst Eoin Toolan has regularly highlighted Lowry’s contributions for Ulster on the pod, while today’s episode involved Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella discussing Lowry’s international potential.

Murray: “That try he scored was one of my highlights of the weekend. I just loved the sheer ballsiness of saying, ‘I’m going to score a try here’ and not trying to side-step Scott Steele, just sprinting past him.

“Most people slow up there, try to step or look for support, but he just backed himself. His acceleration is remarkable. We end up speaking about him nearly every week here on the podcast because Eoin is a huge fan.

“It’s fascinating to see if he can keep rising up through the game. I’d love to see how he’d get on in Test rugby. He’s obviously tiny compared to some guys but he’s really brave and always puts his hand up to get involved, never shirks anything.”

Gavan: “My thoughts went immediately to Eoin when I saw the try because of the way he landed. He landed square, which is something Eoin was talking about a few weeks ago, Lowry came down like Mike Haley for that Munster try against Connacht. 

“You mention his acceleration there. His top-line pace is, I’d say, borderline unrivalled in that team and it’s high-end in Europe really, but it’s how quickly he gets to that, and how quickly he gets to that off a jump and catch as well.

tom-otoole-with-michael-lowry-and-ethan-mcilroy-after-the-game Lowry can play at 15 or 10. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“That blew me away – the second he hits the ground, he’s gone. I’d love to see him play Test rugby because we can talk about physical stature but there are loads of anomalies and outliers in that regard. You don’t need to be huge to play, look at Cheslin Kolbe or Shane Williams before him, and others.

“But that quality alone – how quickly he goes from zero to 60, per se – absolutely excites me. That is applicable to Test rugby.”

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Murray: “There can be so few opportunities at that level and if a ball does bounce somewhere, Michael Lowry is always sniffing onto it, breaking through, sometimes even going underneath tackles to get clear.

“It was a breathtaking moment last weekend. The clip looks speeded up as he fends the Harlequins second row and surges away, curving around Steele to finish.  

“That was an outstanding moment and he’s been outstanding all season.”

Today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also saw the lads breaking down Munster’s defeat to Toulouse in a Champion Cup thriller.

There was discussion of Connacht’s regrets after losing a high-scoring Challenge Cup encounter with Leicester, and an early preview of Leinster’s big Champions Cup quarter-final trip to Exeter this weekend.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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