When it was announced that Leinster had secured the signing of James Lowe, supporters of the eastern province were licking their lips at the thought of the 25-year-old tearing it up at the RDS.
Lowe made his eagerly anticipated debut for Leo Cullen’s side at the weekend in their 36-10 victory over Benetton at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo. The four-capped timed Maori All Black scored two tries and put in a man of the match performance – not a bad way to start your Leinster career.
Supporters would have been disappointed the 25-year-old was not registered in Leinster’s Champions Cup squad for their eagerly anticipated clashes against Aviva Premiership leaders the Exeter Chiefs over the next two weekends – the province have opted to include Scott Fardy and Jamison Gibson-Park instead.
The decision makes sense, Leinster probably need the two aforementioned players more than they do with Lowe and it gives the newly arrived New Zealander more time to familiarise himself with his new life in Dublin.
Ultimately, Leinster are well stocked in the back-three positions and this is why former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan has raised the question as to why he was signed in the first place.
“Looking at the logjam that Leinster have, I wonder why James Lowe was brought in at all.
“If you look at the players they have now, they have Isa Nacewa, Fergus McFadden, Adam Byrne, Barry Daly, Jordan Larmour, Jack Kelly, Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan.
“Lowe is 25-years-of-age, he’s not some 30-year-old, 50-cap All-Black, who’s going to bring a huge, vast wealth of experience from playing with the All Blacks. He’s as young as the lads around him and it’s a complete logjam in their wing positions.
“It’s a funny signing in that if you’re a young winger at Leinster, you’d wonder where your future lies,” O’Sullivan told Newstalk’s Off The Ball.
One counter-argument is that Lowe’s experience would rub off on Leinster’s younger contingent but O’Sullivan does not agree with this as he states that Lowe is a relatively young player himself and is not exactly in the same mould as important imports into the provinces from the past such as John Langford at Munster or Rock Elsom at Leinster.
Regardless, Lowe is an absolutely quality player and it’s up to Cullen and the rest of his management staff to find the best way to incorporate him into proceedings while continuing to nurture the young talent at Leinster.