James Lowe

Lowe keen to play against All Blacks

Lowe, 29, celebrated his international recall by scoring the opening try as Ireland thrashed Japan 60-5 in last weekend's autumn opener in Dublin.

The former Maori All Blacks player now hopes to retain his starting place for this weekend's Aviva Stadium game.

"Some of my best friends are starters in that All Blacks team," said Lowe.

Lowe enjoyed close relationships with the likes of Anton Lienert-Brown, Damian McKenzie, Samisoni Taukei'aho and Brodie Retallick, while he, David Havili and Ethan Blackadder each attended Nelson College.

Former Chiefs winger James Lowe returns for Ireland for Six Nations debut against Wales

Lowe made a try-scoring debut against Wales in November after the New Zealander qualified for Ireland on a three-year residency. The former Chiefs winger struggled more in the loss to England the following week then injured his groin in training and hasn’t played since.

He was selected on Friday (Saturday NZ time) ahead of Jordan Larmour, who was in the reserves after missing the autumn tests with a dislocated shoulder.

“James is a great player who is right for this game,” Ireland coach Andy Farrell said. “He has been in great form in training.”

Unfinished business for Lowe

The experienced 44-game Tasman Makos winger starts a three-year contract with Irish club Leinster at the end of the Mitre 10 Cup rugby season, but he's still guaranteed at least two more outings in the Makos' strip.

Lowe's hoping to make it three. That would mean Tasman beating either Taranaki or Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup premiership semifinals ahead of a potential second consecutive final.

'Father-son' era ends at the Chiefs

The Crusaders 27-13 victory last night puts them into the final where they'll play the Lions in Johanesburg, after they beat the Hurricanes 44-29 this morning.

The Chiefs will now say goodbye to club mainstays Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and James Lowe, as well as coach Dave Rennie.

Cruden who has played 50 tests for New Zealand and 85 games for Chiefs says it will be tough saying goodbye to his super rugby franchise.