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Rugby

11th Feb 2024

James Lowe puts on a show as Ireland wipe floor with Italy

Patrick McCarry

James Lowe

‘Give it to Lowe, ffs Quinny!’

James Lowe delivered another attacking masterclass for Ireland in their 36-0 win over Italy, at Aviva Stadium.

Lowe ended up with a try – his 13th for Ireland – and made 116 metres off 13 carries, which included four clean breaks. His missile of a left boot was key, again, in the kicking game and his defence was strong on a day Italy were kept to ‘0’ on the scoreboard.

The 31-year-old only played twice for Leinster after the World Cup but logged in with two 80-minute outings in the Champions Cup and looks sharp in this Six Nations. His try, on 62 minutes, saw him bull past four Italians and three tackle attempts to score.

‘Everyone could hear us talking’ – Alan Quinlan on James Lowe decision

Even before that try, James Lowe was in the conversation for ‘Man of the Match’. That much was clear when Alan Quinlan was picked up on TV commentary, discussing the pick.

The host broadcaster usually gets the honour of deciding man of the match and Quinlan dropped off the live coverage, provided by Virgin Media Sport, for a while.

TV viewers then picked him up talking to either a producer, co-commentator Andrew Trimble, or both, about that end-of-game decision. Quinlan was overheard saying:

“Everyone we were thinking has been taken off… Jack Crowley or James Lowe.”

This was around the hour mark in the game, when Dan Sheehan, James Ryan and Hugo Keenan had all been replaced. Viewers suspected the chat was about who would get the best player accolade:

Sure enough – cemented by that 62nd minute try and another nice line break – James Lowe was named Man of the Match, much to the delight of the home fans, when it was announced.

In fairness to Quinlan, he acknowledged the ‘hot mic’ situation when the announcement was made.

“I think everyone at home could hear us talking and debating it, Andrew. You hiding away here! James has been superb, the whole game.”

As for James Lowe himself, he credited his teammates for putting it up to Italy and joked about helping out in the rolling mauls to help Dan Sheehan get his tries.

Up next for Ireland, back at Aviva Stadium, are Wales, in a fortnight’s time.

HOUSE OF RUGBY, WITH JAMES DOWNEY & LINDSAY PEAT

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