Waimea, not All Blacks, for Lowe


Despite mounting speculation that star Nelson rugby player James Lowe would debut for the All Blacks next week, the player himself says it won’t happen – yet.

The Tasman Makos and Chiefs winger had another outstanding season in Super 15, and with 17 All Blacks unavailable for the historic test against Samoa in Apia due to Super 15 commitments, there was talk that James would be included for his first test match.

Several national media outlets reported that James could make his debut, with several leading commentators selecting him on the bench in their “probable” teams.

But James quashed those rumours this week, saying he is booked in for shoulder surgery and is unlikely to be considered.

James needs the operation after injuring a shoulder ligament in a tackle against the Crusaders and he expects to have the surgery within the next few weeks.

“I pretty much ruled myself out of All Blacks contention,” James says. “You can’t play at that level unless you are 100 per cent.

“I couldn’t lift my arm for a week after it was injured and then went through the rehab, but it still needs surgery. It was bad timing because I was starting to play some good rugby and then I just couldn’t quite get back on the horse when I came back.”

However, James says he had a discussion with All Blacks coach Ian Foster last week and talked about “the things I need to work on”.

“It’s just the little things. Hopefully, I’ll get them sorted and you never know.”

The sore shoulder didn’t stop the flying winger from turning out for his beloved Star & Garter Waimea Old Boys on Saturday, though.

James spent the morning at the club, signing autographs and talking with the club’s youngest players before playing for Waimea as they beat Stoke 67-12 at Jubilee Park.

The win keeps Waimea on top of the Car Company division one table.

The competition’s other top team, Taylor’s Contracting Wanderers, also had a big win over Kahurangi, 47-12 in Motueka, while Wakatu Hotel Marist secured its spot in the top four with a 27-13 win over Galbraith Nelson in Tahunanui.