The wing said it was “not good enough” to play for New Zealand, but it confirmed Ireland’s selection with a try and brilliant duel to defeat the All Blacks in Dublin
James Lowe is by no means the only member of the Irish squad to see Saturday’s historic win against New Zealand as meaningful.
When the All Blacks were beaten 29:20 on a momentous day in Dublin – Ireland’s third win over the world number one in their last five meetings – the Leinster man scored the first attempt of the afternoon in a first half that the hosts dominated. whatever the result in the break suggested.
Born in Nelson, he was looking forward to the autumn international as well as the Auckland-born duo Bundee Aki and Jamison Gibson-Park. He went to school with David Havili and Ethan Blackadder and counts Samisoni Taukei’aho among his close friends.
Still, the lead role of the former Maori All Blacks player was about a lot more than just his own story.
The 29-year-old is nearing the end of a year in which he was deposed for the Six Nations and relentlessly criticized after his first five internationals. He was left at sea by Louis Rees-Zammit and George North against Wales, which left serious questions about his positioning.
It’s not exactly a fairy tale – he admits he would rather have been All Black and was inspired by the Irish opponent’s routine before the game.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that day would come,” he said afterwards.
“I’ve dreamed of being an All Black since I was a kid. I gave up on this dream. I wasn’t quite good enough, but to show a performance against the best team in the world, to stand in front of the haka – that’s a childhood dream. “
His resurgence of form is no exception as he also opened the gate against Japan. That will have boosted Aki and Hugo Keenan’s confidence as they opened New Zealand’s defense and moved on to Lowe on the left.
More was to come when he left his post on the wing to save a spectacular attempt – O’Gara’s main problem with him was his defense – that allowed Peter O’Mahony to win the sales.
It was a justification for Andy Farrell’s decision to stay with him, and even if his friends at Nelson College felt they had made some unusually sloppy mistakes, it was telling that Aviva Stadium was still open for long after the final whistle Lowe sang.