Leinster confirm Maori All Black James Lowe signing

Ireland international secondrow Mike McCarthy to depart for Narbonne

 James Lowe in action for the Maori All Blacks against Japan in 2014. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

James Lowe in action for the Maori All Blacks against Japan in 2014. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

 

Leinster have confirmed the signing of 24 year-old back James Lowe from Super Rugby side the Chiefs.

The 6’2” Maori All Blacks player has made 39 appearances for the Chiefs with 18 tries to his name and has represented the Maori All Blacks on five occasions scoring six tries – including one against Munster last November in Thomond Park.

Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen confirmed the signing on Monday morning telling the province’s website: “James is a quality and still relatively young outside back that we have been tracking for some time, so we are delighted that he has agreed to join us.

“James has picked up considerable experience from his time with the Tasman Makos, the Chiefs and the Maori All Blacks. We hope he can bring the learnings from his time spent with these teams and really add to our environment here.

“We believe James will greatly add to the outside backs that we have and provide good competition in the squad as we look to remain competitive in both the Pro12 and the Champions Cup.

“We look forward to welcoming James to Leinster and seeing him out on the field representing the team once his commitments in New Zealand come to a close.”

‘Excited’

Lowe made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 against the Crusaders and scored a try after coming on as a substitute. Since then he has added a further 17 tries to his name and has already scored three tries in the first two rounds of the Super Rugby season.

He will join up with his new Leinster team mates after the conclusion of the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup campaign which he will play for his home province Tasman.

Talking about the new deal, he said he was influenced by his visit to Ireland last year -

“I am very excited by the challenge that lies ahead at Leinster Rugby.

“Everyone knows about Leinster and what they have achieved over the last eight years or so but I have also spoken to a few people that I know in Leinster and they have nothing but positive things to say about the club and city. I also really enjoyed my visit to Ireland with the Maori All Blacks last year.

“I am looking forward to getting stuck in and to making an impression at my new club and contributing in whatever way I can.

“Until that time my focus is on the Chiefs and Tasman and doing as much as I can to ensure that I leave New Zealand rugby on a high.”

Early business

Lowe’s signature comes on the back of news last week that Leinster had secured the services of Australian forward Scott Fardy ahead of the 2017/18 season.

As well as confirming seven graduates from the Leinster Academy programme including Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Nick McCarthy, Andrew Porter, Rory O’Loughlin, Peadar Timmins and James Ryan.

Meanwhile, Leinster also confirmed on Monday that secondrow Mike McCarthy will join RC Narbonne in the French Prod2 at the end of the season.

The 35 year-old McCarthty has won 75 caps for Leinster since joining in 2013 from Connacht and won a Pro12 title in his first season.

Speaking after the announcement was made McCarthy said: “I have loved my time in Leinster Rugby and am very grateful for my time here.

“But this is an excellent opportunity for me and for my young family and I am really excited for the challenge with Narbonne. There is a lot of ambition amongst the president and coaching team to rebuild this historic club and I’m really looking forward to playing a part in achieving this.”

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