Anyone who watched Tasman Makos wing, James Lowe, playing in his younger days shouldn’t be surprised that he is the team’s leading try scorer – certainly not his father Geoff anyway.
James, 23, has scored eight tries so far this season breaking Liam Squire’s record set last year and he’s hoping to get the opportunity to extend that to nine or even 10 when the Makos play Taranaki in the ITM Cup final in New Plymouth on Saturday.
But Geoff jokes that James is losing his try scoring touch after regularly scoring 50 or 60 a season firstly for Stoke and then Waimea Old Boys JAB teams.
“When he started playing rugby in the Stoke under-7 team I said I’d give him a dollar for every try he scored,” Geoff recalls. “I think he got 70 tries that year and so I just said I’d take him to McDonalds instead and he was happy.”
And Geoff can take some of the credit for that blistering speed having passed on some super-fast genes to his son.
“I was the Motueka High School sprint champion although I had some really good coaches because our PE teachers were Francis Silke who was the New Zealand sprint champion and Trevor Morris who was an All Black. I played on the wing like James too until I became a teenager and found beer got too fat and then I played loose forward.”
James says he is looking forward to Saturday’s game and adds that he is not surprised the Makos made the final.
“If you had asked me at the start of the season, if I thought we’d make the final, I would have said ‘yes’. All the boys are playing really well and we have a core of players that have been together for three or more years which is critical.
“When we beat Canterbury in the semifinal, we were cool and collected. We aren’t overawed by these big teams anymore.”
Unfortunately James’ number one supporter, his father, won’t be there on Saturday.
Geoff insists that’s because all the return flights from New Plymouth to Nelson on Sunday are booked out and he doesn’t want to miss work on Monday. However, James jokes that it may be more do with Geoff’s fear of flying than being a diligent employee at Eurocell. “He’s such a whimp about flying.”