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13th Oct 2018

Leinster winger James Lowe delivers again with cracking post-match interview

Patrick McCarry

On the way through the press room, after chatting to the Leinster Supporters Club, Luke McGrath hung around for the post-match show. James Lowe was holding court and everyone was smiling.

The Kiwi winger is fresh from scoring two tries and teeing up McGrath for another in Leinster’s 52-3 demolition of Wasps. James Lowe enters the room for his press duties with a blue Leinster beanie on and, with Leo Cullen giving out extra quotes to the print media, he takes a seat among the rest of us.

“Some night, eh boys?” he remarks.

Cullen wraps it up in a couple of minutes and Lowe sits behind a desk littered with recording devices and tells us about a couple of post-match messages he had received. “My mum is annoyed,” he begins. “She said they cut off one of my interviews after the game… oh, you don’t want to annoy my mother!”

Lowe’s mum and dad are coming to Dublin next month for the Guinness Series. That series happens to include his native New Zealand against Ireland – a team he could be playing for in 2020. His folks will be backing the All Blacks but he may go to the Aviva Stadium dressed as a neutral.

The 26-year-old has had an electric start to his season. Five games in and he has scored six tries, set up two others, gained 432 metres, made 11 line breaks and beat countless defenders. Willie Le Roux and Juan De Jongh were among the latest victims on Friday. He is modest about his abilities:

“I was saying it to Jonathan (Sexton) in the changing room after the game – I kind of just stand out there, out wide, and they pass it to me. It’s nothing special. It’s nothing out the gate. Pass it when I pass it and just run.”

Asked why he has become such a fan favourite at Leinster, Lowe remarks. “It’s because I look different… that’s literally it!

“I’m really enjoying my time here. Isa (Nacewa) just messaged me, man. Like, he’s still watching. I thought he’d left us and bloody pushed us to the side but he’s still there and he was a huge influence last year.

“We lost a big part of the team and the culture and boys have stepped up and really filled his shoes. It’s like we haven’t missed a beat since he left and everyone thought the bloody world was over.

“I’ve settled in well, everyone’s been really welcoming. We’ve got a good foreign group, we’re going to some bloomin’ silly paint thing tomorrow, all the partners and a few of the boys. We’re going to enjoy this weekend and look forward to another huge challenge over in France.”

Lowe was already flying it under Cullen, Stuart Lancaster and former backs coach Girvan Dempsey, but he credits new backs coach Felipe Contepomi for adding a new dimension. “He’s got that real southern hemisphere mentality. We got out there to try and score tries, and everyone is ready… Stuart (too) has really ramped us up as a backline.”

The former Chiefs star featured in one of the tries of the night as he scored off a first phase Leinster set-play, coming in off his wing to take a Robbie Henshaw pass and scorch three Wasps defenders. Jordan Larmour was screaming for a pass on the right wing but Lowe backed himself to gun it home, and it paid off.

Asked what passed through his mind as he left Le Roux on the deck, Lowe replies:

“Oh man, your head goes out the gate. You don’t know what to do.

“You always try and get the ball back in two hands. That’s the big thing, because then the defences don’t know what you’re going to do. I didn’t know what I was gonna do so imagine what they’re thinking!

“I just bloody kept on bloody running, saw the tryline and jumped over and now we’re here.”

Such is the laid-back nature of Lowe that even a story about his car window being smashed is told with a smile not too far away from his face.

“My car got broken into last night,” Lowe begins. “Man, I couldn’t bloody believe it!

“They didn’t take anything but, man, I don’t know what’s going on… they broke the smallest bloody window and then just ran off. If you find them, tell me!

“The police rung me yesterday. It was quite weird and we had a funny chat. I was like, ‘Man, if you do find them, give me 10 minutes with them’, and he just giggled to himself.

“But apart from that, it’s been outstanding. Me and my girlfriend have really settled in, we’re enjoying our time here… That’s half of it, you get your life sorted off the field and on the field becomes easy.”

As Alby Mathewson showed with his quarterback pass for Munster, the Kiwis often bring a different way of thinking about the game. Likewise for Lowe and he is flumoxing defences by dropping the ball when he gets tackled before re-gathering it and springing forward.

“I should copyright it!” he jokes. “No, I didn’t invent it. It’s something from back home, you don’t want to die with the ball even when you’re on the ground. Release it and get up and go.

“I actually had Sean Cronin on top of me in the first half, he bloody gave me an earful after. He was like, ‘James, don’t do that!’ I was like, ‘Come on, Sean’. Nah, he’s a good boy; he’s all good.”

Seven minutes of gold from James Lowe after another masterclass out on the pitch.