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'He's got some x-factor to him' - James Lowe is gaining admirers at Leinster

James Lowe is fitting in seamlessly. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
James Lowe is fitting in seamlessly. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Since arriving from New Zealand during the November internationals, James Lowe has been winning friends at Leinster.

On Saturday, he won a bit of respect with two tries on debut against Treviso.

Then he brought the house down in the dressing-room by joining fellow debutant Vakh Abdaladze in a rendition of 'Colt 45' by Afroman.

In most places, the choice of song would be considered Not Safe For Work and most of the lyrics certainly aren't printable, but a rugby dressing-room allows a little bit of wiggle room and while reports are that neither will be pursuing a career in the music industry any time soon it helped integrate the new men regardless.

Of course, Leo Cullen signed the Maori All Black for what he could do on the pitch, rather than what he offers off it, but his personality is allowing him fit in seamlessly.

The vagaries of rugby's ever-shifting seasons mean it was December before the Kiwi was able to make his first appearance, but he has arrived at an important time of the campaign.

Capacity

Leinster will register him in their European squad today and he is likely to be involved in some capacity this weekend when they take on English champions Exeter Chiefs in Sandy Park.

Cullen has an abundance of options available, but the 25-year-old has put his hand up right away.

"He's a good bloke, a funny guy," Jack Conan said. "He's settled in so quickly and what a great debut for him, two tries and man of the match, it's fantastic.

"He obviously hasn't been here that long and was hampered by a few little niggles, but I think that probably gave him a bit more time to get to know lads and the environment, and that probably helped him.

"You can see his quality in training, and there again in the game, and he's got some x-factor to him, he's a big man who can shift, and some great finishing on the weekend.

"If he gets the nod this weekend it will be great to see what he can do on the bigger stage."

Backs coach Girvan Dempsey is happy with the early signs from the new arrival who can add to the province's array of attacking options.

"He has settled in really well," the former Ireland full-back said.

"He is one of the guys straight away, straight into the dressing-room singing a song after his first cap. He's very relaxed.

"You saw what he showed at the weekend, his strength on the ball, his skill level.

"He's been coached by (Glasgow's highly-rated former Chiefs coach) Dave Rennie for years. A lot of Dave's ideas and philosophies have rubbed off on him. He brings that.

"He's full of energy, absolutely full of energy. He just bounces into the place in the morning and just loves the game, loves training, vocal in meetings, happy to share and he's settled in really well.

"It's brilliant, he's a great addition to our squad."

Perhaps more than any Irish province, Leinster are limited in their ability to shop overseas and so when they were granted permission to recruit a 'project player' from abroad they had to do full due diligence to make sure they landed the right player.

"I was down there a couple of summers ago and came across him with Dave Rennie, Leo also did, and we'd spoken to a number of Kiwi guys who have played with him and also played against him," Dempsey said of Lowe.

"You do, when you're signing a foreign player, with the limited opportunity we have, you have to make sure you have got the right one.

"We'd have done a lot of homework, gone through a lot of footage - playing for Tasman and the Chiefs and looking at areas of his game.

"When he came in he was surprised at how much we knew about him and we knew his game."

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