James Lowe: Ireland wing keen to beat All Blacks in New Zealand

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Ireland’s New Zealand-born wing James Lowe admitted that he never expected to be on the verge of winning a Test series against the All Blacks in his birth country when he left there in 2017.

Lowe, who represented the Chiefs in Super Rugby and the Maori All Blacks with distinction, joined Leinster that year before making his Test debut for Ireland in 2020, after switching international allegiance under World Rugby’s three-year residency rules.

On the verge of making history

He has cemented his spot in Ireland‘s starting line-up and is now in line to make history with his adopted country by winning a Test series against the All Blacks if they beat them in Wellington on Saturday.

After suffering a 42-19 defeat in the first Test in Auckland, Ireland levelled the series with a 23-12 win in Dunedin and Lowe, who was named in the men from the Emerald Isle’s starting XV for all three Tests, is keen to finish the series on a high on Saturday.

“I don’t think you would be able to script that, for sure,” the 30-year-old said of his career path.

“It was always a dream to play international rugby. To be given the opportunity in Ireland has been amazing and then to tour in New Zealand with the potential of a game-three decider, it’s an amazing opportunity and something that we’ll probably never get again.

“You don’t get to come to New Zealand very often, you don’t get to knock over New Zealand very often either, so if we can go into the summer having beaten New Zealand twice in a row then that’s huge.

“If you could tell us that at the start of the tour, we would have bitten your hand off for it.

“Obviously we created a bit of history last week but there’s also that feeling that the job’s not done so hopefully tomorrow we can put out a performance we’re proud of and walk off heads held high.”

That victory in the second Test was Ireland’s first-ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil and their head coach, Andy Farrell, believes they can still improve on that performance.

Lowe is one of four New Zealanders in Ireland’s matchday squad for Saturday’s Test – along with Bundee Aki, Jamison Gibson-Park and Joey Carbery – and agrees with his coach.

“He’s hit the nail on the head,” he said of Farrell’s comments. “What needs to improve? Everything really – our shape in attack, our speed to get set, our defence, our kicking game needs to be on the money again.

“We need to put them under as much pressure as we can. Kick pressure, high ball, ruck, back entry into the ruck, they’re all the things that go a long way to winning a rugby game.

All to play for

“It’s about playing in the right areas of the field. They probably controlled the first Test, we probably had the upper hand in the second, and that will be a huge decider.

“It’s been a long season – that’s never an excuse – but the boys are playing their best rugby when needed and that’s what you need when it comes to international rugby.

“Tomorrow’s going to be hugely exciting and I can’t wait for it.”

READ MORE: New Zealand v Ireland preview: All Blacks to triumph in Wellington classic and win the series

 

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