James Lowe confirms story about him targeting Leinster 'big dog' Johnny Sexton
"That’s when you know he means business!"
James Lowe got off to a flying start, last season, and he has continued to impress during his second season with Leinster. The 26-year-old winger has scored 18 tries in 19 games for his new club, including one in the Guinness PRO14 final against Scarlets.
Lowe will not be eligible to play for Ireland until 2020 and he is hoping to keep his head down when that topic is broached. During Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby LIVE, at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, Lowe was asked if there would be abundant pride if he wore the green jersey.
"Oh, that’s another bridge we’ll cross when we get there, you know," he replied.
Lowe was more forthcoming, though, on the subject of Johnny Sexton (from 41:00 below) and his upcoming battle with New Zealand outhalf Beauden Barrett.
Lowe told hosts Andrew Trimble and Paddy McKenna that he was playing 12 months straight after going into action with Leinster following on from a Super Rugby season with Chiefs. It don't not take him long to discover that excuses were just excuses in the Leinster set-up.
JAMES: "I got here, turned up in a professional environment and everyone wanted to win. I had Johnny Sexton breathing down my neck for most of it and, at the end of the day, you just want to make sure he’s happy so that’s it!”
ANDREW: “Exactly, I’ve been on the receiving end of when he gives someone a hard time and gives out.”
JAMES: “Oh, when Jonathan has got his hat on or his beanie down nice and low – like down here – that’s when you know he means business.”
ANDREW: “You got, you’ve got a bit of a truce – a bit of a ceasefire – with Johnny at the minute, have you?”
JAMES: “Yeah, we’ve got a professional relationship now. Not to say that we were…
ANDREW: “That sounds like you were sleeping with him for a while but now… !”
JAMES: “Not quite on that level! I just felt, when I got here, that [with] a lot of those Irish internationals, nobody really pushed their buttons. And I always push people’s buttons, whether it’s for the good or the bad. And I wanted to go for the big dog, first up. I got a good reaction out of it, but he’s always the winner at the end of the day.”
ANDREW: “Like when you arrive in prison and you take on the big guy.”
JAMES: “Yeah, they don’t go for the crazy dude if you attack him.”
It just shows the confidence and self-assuredness of the New Zealander that he identified Sexton as the player to ruffle up and show he was not going to take a backward step. The pair are good mates now and Lowe says he nearly screamed the roof down when Sexton landed that late drop goal against France in the Six Nations
As for Sexton vs. Barrett, he firmly believes they are the two best 10s in world rugby and are hard to separate in terms of picking the best.
The match itself? Lowe played it safe with a draw prediction.