James Lowe has no problem with pantomime villain role

‘If I was to show someone a game of rugby Munster v Leinster would be the one’

It's been a busy couple of weeks for James Lowe, helping Ireland to win a Triple Crown, getting married to his long-time partner and now wife, Arnica Palmer in Las Vegas and tonight hoping to help Leinster to victory in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

An intimate ceremony in a Las Vegas chapel last Wednesday week - it was just the two of them - brought to a happy conclusion, a process that started with a proposal in November. The newlyweds considered a wedding back home in New Zealand but decided to pare it right back to the essentials; bride and groom.

Lowe smiled: “It was a lot of fun, stress free. I told the boys I would highly recommend that rather than inviting 200 people to a wedding. I was going through my guest list and I was going ‘I don’t want half you people here.’

“It was just us. It was amazing. We had a lot of fun. It was funny, I was laying on my bed 20 minutes before we had to leave, thinking, ‘ah I better have a shave.’ Honestly it was the way to do it for sure.”

Lowe arrived back in Dublin last Sunday and immediately started prepping for a trip to Thomond Park. It included getting the plays from Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi and switching to Leinster centric rugby lingo. He admitted that "his head was fried for the first couple of days," but that "I am ready to rumble and so is the team."

So how would he describe a Munster-Leinster match to anyone who hasn’t seen one? “A bit of a bloodbath, no holds barred (and) you can’t go in half cocked. If I was to show someone a game of rugby or take someone to a game of rugby this would be the one.

“As much as the friendships that we have created over the last 10 weeks in (Ireland) camp, those are put at the door and it’s about being ready to rumble. Everyone is feeling the same but as soon as you put on a different colour jumper you want to kick the bollix out of each other. Come Saturday, hopefully we kick them more than they kick us.”

Needle

Lowe has no problem playing the role of pantomime villain and enjoys the little bit of needle. “Oh yeah, I’m not there to throw digs at anyone but jeepers, you either walk towards it or you stand back and watch it unfold in front of you.

“Look, we’re all professional athletes at the end of the day. You want to be part of the biggest days and under the brightest lights, and if you’re not here to do that, I don’t know why you’re here. You’re not going to win anything if you don’t like that.

“We’re ready to rumble. We understand the task at hand and what’s going to be needed for the full 80 minutes and hopefully we can produce a performance and get a result.” He laughs when asked for a favourite memory replying, “Getting red carded and booed off, that was amazing,” a reference to being sent off in 2018 for an aerial clash with Andrew Conway.

Cards fell like confetti that day with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong seeing yellow and Johnny Sexton decided to pursue Joey Carbery with vigour. Lowe said: "Yeah it was madness, wasn't it? We don't want that to happen again, that's for sure.

“I guess part of how teams try and play is trying to get under our skin, force us into mistakes we wouldn’t normally make, and try and rile us up.

“People put that in the blueprint of trying to beat Leinster so if we can keep calm, try and not fight back, I’m not saying they’re (Munster) going to go out and try to do it, but a lot of teams do. If we can stick to our system, stick to our game plan, hopefully we won’t see any cards on the weekend.”