"We knew the storm was coming. It was about how we responded" - James Lowe 1 month ago

"We knew the storm was coming. It was about how we responded" - James Lowe

"It hasn't quite sunk in."

James Lowe returned to New Zealand with a clear agenda - beat the side that he once dreamed of playing for.

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The Leinster winger pulls no punches about his long-held desire to represent the All Blacks at Test rugby. He clung to that hope until his mid 20s when it looked to have been dashed. Despite his form with the Chiefs, lining out for the Maori All Blacks, as he did against Munster in 2016, appeared to be the best he could hope for.

Lowe can still recall the time he sat with his father, Geoff, and, in tears, tell him, "It's not happening. It's not going to happen." In 2019, Lowe told us:

"I just thought, 'Man, I've been playing good footy for the last few years and I haven't made it. I'm not there.'

"I sat in the car and was talking to my old man on the phone. He said, 'I thought you were going to be an All Black by now'."

A decision was made, not long after. Lowe would leave family, friends and his old life behind. He and his partner would travel to Ireland to make a new life for themselves. That he did, and he has been a key figure to Leinster, on and off the pitch, and has embraced life in his new home.

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He enjoyed a special Ireland debut, then struggled when trying to play through injuries. Andy Farrell showed faith with him, in 2021, and neither the winger nor the Ireland coach have looked back.

James Lowe Ireland players, from left, Hugo Keenan, Dan Sheehan and James Lowe after their side's victory in the Steinlager Series. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" - James Lowe

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Standing on the pitch at Sky Stadium, after a 32-22 victory that secured Ireland's historic Test Series win over the All Blacks, James Lowe try to put it all into words.

"We knew after the First Test that that wasn't our best performance. We were ill disciplined and we weren't good on our transition defence. We fixed those two bits, tightened things up and tried to stop New Zealand getting those easy tries.

"We let a couple in today, especially after half-time, but two wins on the bounce in New Zealand, mate, it's something that... who would've thought?"

"They're the best team in the world, still," Lowe added. "You can't take that for granted. We were able to put in a performance and, especially at the start at that second half, we knew that storm was coming. We knew they were going to get purples patches, and it was about how we responded. We got one chance and we scored and it was like, 'Yeah, we're here. That's us!'"

Told by Sky Sports NZ pundit, and former Connacht star, Mils Muliaina that Wellington 'felt like Dublin' with the noise from the Irish crowd, Lowe joked, "It's beautiful, isn't it?!"

Grant Nisbett, the match commentator, referred to Lowe as, 'born in New Zealand but an Irishman, at the moment'. While some may be irked by that line, and all the references to Guinness and whiskey being consumed by Irish players and fans, Nesbitt is right.

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Lowe is born in New Zealand and is a proud Kiwi. He is also a passionate, dedicated Ireland international and a guy that has taken this country, and its' fans, to his heart.

"The travelling support of the Irish isn't matched, anywhere around the world," said Lowe. "Who'd have thought. The Irish were coming from Australia, all over New Zealand, all our family and friends, they all came, for all five matches.

"We were able to get the job done and I can't even put it all into words."


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