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20th Mar 2023

James Lowe challenges Ireland’s Grand Slam winners to scale even greater heights

Patrick McCarry

James Lowe

“We’ve done something we haven’t done in a wee while.”

James Lowe and this Ireland team are in the form of their lives, with everything building nicely for the World Cup, in France.

Back in 2009, Ireland bridged a 61-year gap by winning a Grand Slam in Cardiff. Including that triumph, Ireland have now won three Grand Slams in 14 years. The current squad have already set their sights on the World Cup but did give the Six Nations celebrations a serious rattle for 48 hours.

Down on the pitch, as the 2023 Six Nations win was being celebrated, Bernard O’Toole of Virgin Media was able to wrangle a few quality minutes with James Lowe. As U2 and The Cranberries pumped out, in the background, the Leinster winger set sights on bigger challenges ahead, and narrowly avoided pulling a Mack Hansen by swearing on national TV.

James LoweJames Lowe of Ireland celebrates at Sky Stadium in July 2022. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

James Lowe delivers the goods

Andy Farrell started James Lowe and Mack Hansen in all five games of the 2023 Six Nations, showing how much he trusts, and relies on, the two men.

Lowe and Hansen delivered all championship, on and off the pitch. Hansen, who picked up two Man of the Match awards, is one of three Ireland players nominated for Six Nations Player of the Championship.

The former Brumbies winger has created a few headlines with his honest, casual interviews – from dropping an F-bomb live on-air in one chat to claim ‘everyone hates England’ in another. Hansen did clarify that he does not hate English people, personally, and asked if someone could let Farrell, a proud son of Wigan, know.

Not long after Hansen headed off to celebrate, James Lowe stepped up. He commented:

“It’s pretty cool, yeah. We’ve done something we haven’t done in a wee while. We’ve played pretty well and are happy enough with the Grand Slam.”

“It’s small, incremental wins, every week,” he added. “The want to come in every week, an understanding of how to get better, the people around you challenging you. It’s competitive for positions. It’s a combination of a lot of different things but, at the moment, we’ve got a bit of a formula that tends to be treating us well.

“We’ll hold on to it for as long as we can because it’s a pretty special group, pretty special feeling and pretty f……… almost Mack Hansen-ed it!”

“It’s pretty bloody good,” he settled for, before stressing that further improvements were needed before ‘we crack back into it in the summer’.

You can tell that travelling to New Zealand as an Ireland player and turning over the All Blacks almost ranks higher for the former Chiefs star, but playing a huge role in a Grand Slam win is already rivalling it.

There was still time to get a dig in about Johnny Sexton – “He’s our emotional leader… I wouldn’t say he’s our physical leader!” – before he was off to celebrate a superb achievement with his teammates.

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