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Ireland winger Lowe is determined to learn and grow from costly error in Wales defeat



Firing line: James Lowe was at fault for Wales’ second try

Firing line: James Lowe was at fault for Wales’ second try

�INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Firing line: James Lowe was at fault for Wales’ second try

A few days ago, an alert on James Lowe's phone reminded him of a life that barely looks recognisable now.

Before he became Irish qualified and went straight into the team, the first two weeks of the Six Nations were a chance for a break, and the Kiwi took advantage with a trip home to New Zealand to see his family.

Now, he's locked in a bio-secure bubble in a Kildare hotel intensely preparing for a must-win game against France. The 29-year-old winger smiles at the photos of him jet-skiing and sunbathing on the beach.

"It's been an absolute whirlwind of a year," he said with a smile.

"I remember, it must have been March last year, being told not to go into work.

"The boys were kind of happy, we thought we'd get a week of golf, and then all of a sudden the golf courses are closed, we can't go into Leinster.

"It's been completely different but, you know, you embrace the chal­lenge. It's been an interesting year.

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"Like, New Zealand is a fully func­tioning place at the moment. So it's nice to know that my family and my parents are all healthy and safe. That's the one good thing.

"On the flip-side, my girlfriend has been at home by herself for the last two and a half weeks, getting a bit of cabin fever, missing people obviously.

"I call her every morning on the way in and on the way out. I feel a bit gutted for her more than anything. I get to socialise with 30-odd dudes every day."

Lowe has distilled a lot into his three caps to date. He was brilliant on debut against Wales. A week later, he was roundly criticised for his work rate against England and then, after an 11-week lay-off, he returned last Sunday and did some things very well but was at fault for Wales' second try.

"Mistakes are amplified, aren't they? That's the big thing," he said of the step up to international rugby.

"The small margins, that's huge. It doesn't matter if someone said I'd almost 200 carry metres on the week­end, but unfortunately it was 20 metres down my sideline and one of them resulted in a try.

"That's the big difference at the end of the day.

"It is something I'll definitely work on.

"I didn't even realise but I hadn't played in 11 weeks either and they sort of told me that after.

"It doesn't feel like that, I've been in and around professional set-ups and environments trying to learn, going to as many meetings as possible.

"I didn't feel out of my depth by any means, I was ready to rumble.

"I felt fit and keen, but that's the main difference. Mistakes are ampli­fied at this level."

In particular, Lowe was stung by the criticism that came from former England winger Chris Ashton who described him as being "too big, too heavy, too slow".

"The 99 per cent of people who talk... he's actually one of the people who's been there and understands, but 99 per cent of people who voice their opinion, they're not the ones I care about or worry about," Lowe explained.

"There's a group of men in here who have set out on a mission to achieve something and we'll tell each other square to the face.

"It's a professional environment based on performance, we're all in here going in the same direction, try­ing to achieve the same things, and for me that's all that really matters."

Sunday against France is a chance to get back to winning ways, but it won't be easy.

"It's expansive footy, isn't it? Man, they've got some terrific athletes," added Lowe.

"They played very, very well against Italy, scored some amazing tries and defended very, very well.

"France have a lot of line speed so we'll try and implement that through­out the week and we'll put our best foot forward and try to knock them over."

Belfast Telegraph