James Lowe (rugby union)
|Birth name||James Francis Rawiri Lowe|
|Date of birth||8 July 1992|
|Place of birth||Nelson, New Zealand|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||105 kg (16 st 7 lb; 231 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
Born and raised in the town of Nelson on New Zealand's South Island, Lowe is of Māori and English descent and affiliates to the Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Te Rangi iwi. Lowe attended high school at Nelson College where in addition to playing rugby, he was a junior and senior schools athletics champion and also represented New Zealand Under-15s at basketball. After leaving high school, he began playing local club rugby with the Waimea Old Boys club.
Lowe debuted for his local province, the Tasman Makos, as a 20-year-old in 2012, scoring 2 tries in 6 matches as the men from Nelson reached the Championship semi-finals. He was firmly established as a regular in the side for Tasman during their Championship winning year in 2013. He contributed 6 tries in 11 appearances as the Makos narrowly saw off Hawke's Bay, 26–25 in the final to clinch promotion for the 2014 New Zealand domestic season.
He continued his excellent performances in the ITM Cup Premiership, playing all 12 of Tasman's games during the 2014 season as they reached the Premiership final before losing 36–32 to Taranaki in the final, with Lowe netting an impressive 8 tries during the campaign. 2015 was not so kind to him as injury forced him to miss the entire national provincial championship season, but he bounced back in 2016, playing 6 times and scoring 1 try as the Makos once again reached the Premiership final, before this time succumbing to local rivals, Canterbury, 43–27.
Strong domestic performances during the 2012 and 2013 seasons saw Lowe land a Super Rugby contract with Hamilton-based franchise, the Chiefs, ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season. He made his Super Rugby debut by coming on as a substitute in the Chiefs' first match of the season against the Crusaders in Christchurch. With the Chiefs leading 11–10, but the Crusaders on the attack, he scored an intercept try from within his own 22 to help inspire his side to an 18–10 victory. In total he played 10 times and scored 2 tries in his first season in Hamilton as the defending champions were eliminated at the quarter-final stage.
2015 saw him return stronger from Tasman's excellent domestic campaign and he went on to start 12 games for the Chiefs, score 5 tries and also net himself 3 yellow cards. The Chiefs were once again eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2015, but went one step further in 2016, reaching the semi-finals before going down to New Zealand rivals and eventual winners, the Hurricanes. Lowe started 15 times and scored a career high 7 tries to firmly establish himself as a fans-favourite.
On 6 March 2017, Lowe signed for Irish province Leinster in the Pro14 ahead of the 2017–18 season. Despite arriving late in the season due to commitments with Tasman, he quickly established himself as a fans' favourite scoring 10 tries and beating 40 defenders. Notably, he scored a try in the quarter finals of the Champions cup, seeing off the reigning champions Saracens. Lowe achieved winners' medals in both the European Champions Cup and Pro14 in his first season.
Of Māori descent, he affiliates to the Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Te Rangi iwi. He gained selection for the Māori All Blacks in 2014 and 2016 with his debut coming in a 61–21 demolition of Japan in Kobe on 1 November 2014, he scored his side's 8th and final try in the 76th minute of the match and also went on to feature in the far narrower 20–18 victory over the same opposition in Tokyo the following week. Injury prevented him from appearing for the Māori in 2015, but he made the squad again for the 2016 end-of-year rugby union internationals, scoring 5 tries in 3 appearances against; the United States, Munster and Harlequins.
Super Rugby statistics
- As of 24 August 2017
- "Tasman winger James Lowe signs for Chiefs". Stuff. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "Chiefs 2017 Squad Guide" (PDF). All Blacks.com. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "James Lowe Chiefs Player Profile". Chiefs Rugby. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "James Lowe Tasman Makos Player Profile". Makos Rugby. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "James Lowe itsrugby.co.uk Player Statistics". It's Rugby. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "Chiefs win battle of attrition over Crusaders". sportal.co.nz. All Blacks. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "Leinster to sign Chiefs utility back James Lowe". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- "2010 New Zealand Schools squad announced". All Blacks.com. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "James Lowe". New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- "Six new caps named in Maori All Blacks". RNZ News. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.