‘Pretty bloody proud’: New Zealander James Lowe scores try on debut for Ireland
James Lowe is congratulated by his Ireland team-mates after scoring on international debut against Wales.
New Zealand winger James Lowe capped off a dream debut for Ireland by scoring in the 80th minute to beat Wales 32-9 in their opening game of the Autumn Nations Cup at an empty Aviva Stadium on Saturday (NZT).
The result consigned Wales, coached by Kiwi Wayne Pivac, to a sixth consecutive defeat. They are on their worst losing run in seven years, and Georgia will smell blood when they meet next week.
Andy Farrell’s experimental Ireland selection, two weeks after a failed bid to win the Six Nations in Paris, came up trumps as new cap Lowe was a constant danger on the left and dotted down at the very end.
Given a first start, New Zealand-born halfback Jamison Gibson-Park also sparked the side with speedy service.
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“Weirdly enough you do dream of scoring on debut, performing on debut,” said Lowe, who was gutted his parents couldn’t be there to witness his first test in emerald green.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you always go in questioning if you should be there and to be able to do that, to be perform well, it means the world.
“I’ve always wanted to challenge myself on the bigger stage and for this opportunity to come at home in pretty peculiar circumstances, I’m pretty bloody proud in fairness.
Former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains tells Extra Time how things need to change if rugby is to remain an attractive and entertaining sport.
“I know half of my hometown will be up first thing watching this. I’ve got friends all over the world who are wishing me messages, past players, coaches, the whole shebang. It’s a very proud moment that’s for sure.”
The Irish dominated the first half when lock Quinn Roux scored the only try, and Wales fought back in the second half but they still didn’t threaten the home side’s tryline.
Lowe missed out on scoring the opening try when Jonathan Sexton passed too far in front of him. However, Roux claimed it after multiple rucks.
Sexton, Billy Burns, and Conor Murray kicked two penalties each as they punished a Wales side that couldn’t hold their discipline without the ball, and struggled in scrums in the first half and lineouts in the second.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked all of Wales’ points.
In injury time, No. 8 Caelan Doris fed a straight-running Lowe to crash over, two weeks after the former Chiefs and Tasman star qualified for Ireland on three-year residency.
Lowe’s try continued his remarkable run of scoring on debut for every team he has played for, having dotted down in his first outings for Tasman, the Chiefs, New Zealand Māori, Leinster and now Ireland.
The popular Lowe was engulfed by team-mates while Wales looked ahead to a new week of turmoil.
– Additional reporting Stuff