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    Chiefs blow as Lowe leaves for Ireland

    2017-03-06 12:56

    Cape Town - Chiefs wing James Lowe will depart New Zealand at the end of the year to join PRO12 side Leinster, it was announced on Monday.

    At 24-years of age, Lowe is in the form of his career with three tries to his name in the opening two rounds of the Super Rugby campaign. 

    Lowe explained his reasons for joining Leinster in a heartfelt statement.

    "It is with a heavy heart that today I announce I will be leaving New Zealand at the end of the year to play rugby abroad," he told the Chiefs.

    "I have taken up a three-year contract with Leinster rugby, based in Dublin, Ireland. This decision has not been an easy one. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an All Black, but at this stage of my life and for my future, I feel this is the best decision for me. Leinster are a very competitive side and I am looking forward to challenging myself in another professional environment.

    "Like I have mentioned I leave New Zealand with a heavy heart - I am a very passionate Tasman and Chiefs representative which made my decision to leave even harder. I leave behind great friends, rivalries, my family and most of all the public who have supported me throughout my short professional career in NZ. I am not ruling out returning to NZ rugby.

    "At 24 I feel my best years are still to come. But for this stage of my life and with an eye to the future, I have to set myself and my future family up so they can have every opportunity in life to succeed."

    Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: "James has made a massive contribution to the Chiefs over the past four seasons. His unique skillset, leadership and attacking mindset makes him one of the best left wingers in the world. It is a smart signing by Leinster. James is a top man, great in the community and has been a pleasure to work with."

    Leinster head coach Leo Cullen confirmed the signing, saying: "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 Guinness 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."

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