Sunday 16 December 2018

'They won a European Cup without me' - James Lowe eager to follow Isa Nacewa's 'selfless' lead

James Lowe has become a new cult hero at Leinster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
James Lowe has become a new cult hero at Leinster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Come full-time, a chant of James Lowe's name rang around a jubilant, sold-out RDS.

If confirmation was ever needed, here it was. Leinster have a new cult hero, who has the potential to go on and become one of the club's greatest ever foreign imports. Sounds familiar.

The Kiwi winger hasn't even been in the country a year, but has already made a huge impact on and off the pitch.

Sixteen tries in his 18 games for Leinster tells its own story, yet Lowe is bringing so much more to the party.

After the ruthless 52-3 drubbing of Wasps on Friday night, during which Lowe helped himself to another brace, Leo Cullen spoke glowingly of how the 26-year-old has already embedded plenty of aspects of the Chiefs' culture in the Leinster set-up.

For all of the positives, however, Lowe found himself left out of the big occasions last season due to the European Champions Cup rule that permits just two antipodean players in a match-day squad.

"Everyone wants to play in the big games, everyone wants to play in every game that they are available for selection, but you've also got to understand that in my position, there is a lot of depth," Lowe said.

"Scott (Fardy) has played 30/40 international Test matches. What he brings is a lot of mongrel. He does his job really, really well.

"He's a leader. He's 30-odd years, he's bald but he's definitely a leader in the team. And Jamison (Gibson-Park) really pushes Luke (McGrath) for that number one spot.

Expendable

"I understand that I am more expendable but it's nice to know that I am not getting picked because of a rule. It's not that I'm not getting picked because I'm not good enough.

"So yeah, I know it's probably the toughest conversation that Leo has to have. He's like 'Aw crap, this one again.' But we all take it on the chin and really understand."

Lowe is the ultimate team player and his selflessness hasn't gone unnoticed by his coaches and team-mates. He insists that he learned from the best, however.

"As soon as it stops becoming about yourself and you really want to be selfless towards the team, that's something that Isa (Nacewa) really drove," Lowe said.

"He was the most selfless person you ever could have thought of. If you're moving house, he was the first one there. You wouldn't even have to ask and he'd be there.

"Man, it is what it is. Fergus (McFadden) is playing bloody awesome, Jordo (Larmour) is playing awesome. Dave Kearney, I heard he played bloody well for the As, they had a good win over Munster. You know, we've got outside backs to burn and I understand that.

"I just want to put that jersey on and leave it in a better place than when I came. I mean, it's tough because Isa wore it, but at the end of the day it's about what's best for the team.

"They won a European Cup without me and I'm bloody stoked for a day. It doesn't bother me, I had a heck of a day in Bilbao man. They should have given me a camera for that, it was the best day of my life."

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