Sunday 25 August 2019

It's bitter-sweet with this poxy rule... I'd love to be out there with the team

Player's Diary: James Lowe

Scott Fardy is tackled. Photo: Sportsfile
Scott Fardy is tackled. Photo: Sportsfile
Jamison Gibson-Park. Photo: Sportsfile

James Lowe

Hellllooooooo! It's been a while since my last column but blimey it feels like time has flown. So many games have been watched and enjoyed - PRO14, Six Nations and Champions Cup.

There was so much action and yet I think I have only played maybe two games so far in 2019, that's nuts!

The main reason for that is because I'm battling with a shoulder injury that was taking longer than I'd hoped to settle but thankfully it's now on the mend.

Injuries like that can be a nightmare. You think it'll be nothing and suddenly the weeks slip by.

It's nothing on poor 'Leaf' though - or Dan Leavy to the outside world - the poor dude. It's been a horrendous week for him and we are all feeling for the guy.

To be finally back from a niggly calf injury that had put him out for the duration of the Six Nations and now this...

All of the rugby family have reached out to him, not just in Leinster.

You never want to see another player get injured, no matter how much you hate someone on the pitch (myself included if you aren't a Leinster fan!).

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Medical

One thing that I do know is that Leinster and Ireland have very good medical teams, so at least we can rest easy knowing he will have a good plan in place to recover fully from this.

Best of luck, Leaf.

So what about all of those games? Ireland had a bit of a lacklustre Six Nations which I wouldn't be too worried about leading in to the Rugby World Cup.

For a start, it's five months away and that is a lot of time for players to fall in and out of form and ultimately for a team to come together with a narrow focus and then to hit the ground running in Japan.

I have had many conversations which random people on the street and my opinion would always be not to worry. But they keep asking!

Conor Murray is still to find the form that made him first pick during the Lions tour and Jonathan Sexton wasn't firing on all cylinders due to niggly injuries but they will settle again. And don't forget Robbie is still to come back in to look after Jonathan!

Those two alone will obviously have a huge role in the success of Ireland and their World Cup chances.

It's hard to be too critical when you know these guys will come right again. And after all, how many games have they lost in the last 18 months? Three?

That's not the form of a bad team. They just need to find their rhythm again and I think they will.

Other players stood up though during the five games.

I thought Jack Conan played well when given his chance and he could seriously push for a starting spot.

That back-row, including the No 8 slot, is competitive but we saw last Saturday in the Aviva - even with his shorts down - just how good Jack is.

But where I am really confused is with 'Nugget'. Sorry, Seán Cronin. Maybe I'm biased. OK, I am biased, but like how can he be left out? He's the top try-scorer in Europe? And he's not even supposed to be scoring tries.

He brings so much to the table for us and I can't believe he wasn't even in the mix for the last few games.

Joey Carbery played well too I thought... but we aren't allowed to talk about him any more, are we?!

I sat on the sidelines last weekend in the Aviva Stadium shouting for the lads.

It's bitter-sweet with this poxy rule in the sense that I would love to be out there but it wouldn't be best for the team.

Devin Toner was still a week or so away from playing so Scott Fardy and Jamison Gibson-Park were the obvious choice in that two-foreigner selection conundrum. What a game though.

Ulster brought their A game, they competed in all facets of the contest and you have to really admire that. Plus the Ulster fans were immense.

They were loud and proud which was cool to see. It was kind of scary too to see another Irish team really put their hand up in Europe.

But thankfully we don't have to worry about them again this season in that competition.

They are still in the mix in the PRO14 and we have to go up there in a few weeks' time, in our last game of the regular season. So we could have a few battles left with the Ulstermen before the season is out.

With Saturday week against Glasgow being our final game at the RDS before the play-offs, next Monday we are hosting an open training at Energia Park for all our season-ticket holders to thank them for the continued support.

Impressive

It is very impressive the support we do get. I do understand Leinster are currently playing very good, entertaining rugby but there is no guarantee of that on any given game day.

But no matter who we play at the RDS, the crowd is always there.

With and without the international players you always turn out and I thank you on behalf of the lads.

Look at that #SeaOfBlue that the Supporters Club pulled together for the last few games at the RDS and at the Aviva.

Yes, we see those tweets and the call to arms. It's been brilliant to see that support as the bus pulls up. We love it.

We have a tough couple games at home against Benetton this weekend and then Glasgow before our semi against a team who have points to prove so it will be awesome to feel a buzz around the RDS before selling out the Aviva for Toulouse.

But until then... ciao for now! J

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