James Lowe believes Jack Crowley is taking Ireland fly-half chance in his stride

By Sports Desk February 12, 2024

Ireland fly-half Jack Crowley is taking the challenge of filling Johnny Sexton’s shoes in his stride and “could go far”, according to team-mate James Lowe.

Test rookie Crowley marked his maiden Guinness Six Nations appearance in Dublin with the first senior try of his career to set the defending champions on course for a crushing 36-0 win over Italy.

The 24-year-old, who has never touched down in 45 provincial outings for Munster, was elevated to first-choice number 10 after long-serving talisman Sexton retired following the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Leinster wing Lowe also starred on Sunday afternoon – claiming the fifth of Ireland’s six tries before being named man of the match – and has been impressed with Crowley’s early impact.

“He’s got a lot of pressure on him, there have been some world-class 10s come before him,” he said.

“He’s taken it in his stride, bossing it around week to week.

“He hasn’t quite got that Sexton aura about him. He hasn’t got the stare down yet. He’s awesome, he growing into it.

“He slotted into 15 (after full-back Hugo Keenan was injured) as well, fair play to him, he’s a young man with a good head on his shoulders and he could go far.”

Crowley, who has 11 caps, made his full championship debut in Ireland’s statement 38-17 round-one win in France.

For the second successive week, he shrugged off some nervy kicks to produce an assured performance.

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey – one of six players brought into Andy Farrell’s starting XV following success in Marseille – echoed Lowe’s praise of Crowley.

“He’s good, isn’t he? He’s went really well the last couple of games,” said McCloskey.

“He’s obviously still learning, he’s a young guy but some of his touches, the way he takes the ball to the line, the way he offloads is something slightly different to what Johnny brought – not that Johnny wasn’t incredible, but it’s a slightly different way of playing.

“Obviously he’s had a couple of mistakes in there and bits and pieces to work on, but you’re going to get that with someone who is 24 years old.

“I thought he was very good and very good last week as well.”

Dan Sheehan’s double and further scores from Jack Conan and Calvin Nash ensured Ireland go into a fallow weekend at the top of the table with maximum points.

Farrell’s side host Wales on February 24 before taking on England and Scotland next month.

“We’d a fair few changes this week and boys who came into the group really put their hands up and showed why they are internationals,” added Lowe.

“We are happy with where we are sitting, it’s a pretty good position to be in.”

Related items

  • Six uncapped players make England squad for Japan, New Zealand Tests Six uncapped players make England squad for Japan, New Zealand Tests

    England coach Steve Borthwick has named six uncapped players in his squad for their summer internationals against Japan and New Zealand. 

    England face Japan in Tokyo on June 21 in their first outing since the Six Nations, then take on the All Blacks on July 6 and July 13.

    Harlequins prop Fin Baxter and centre Luke Northmore, Sale pair Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck, Bristol's Gabriel Oghre and Northampton's Ollie Sleightholme are all included.

    Having named a 36-man squad, England will train at Twickenham on Tuesday before flying out to Japan to prepare for their opening Test.

    "The Summer Series presents a valuable opportunity for the continued development of this squad and is a demanding challenge to conclude the season," Borthwick said.

    "The National Stadium in Tokyo is an incredible venue for Test match rugby, and we will need to be at our very best against a Japanese team who will want to play fast.

    "New Zealand's home record is well documented, and we face a team who came within one point of winning a World Cup.

    "The players know that they will need to be mentally strong and tactically smart if we are to get the result we want."

    Full England squad: Fin Baxter, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Chandler Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Jamie George (c), Joe Heyes, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, George Martin, Gabriel Oghre, Bevan Rodd, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Joe Carpenter, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Luke Northmore, Harry Randall, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Ollie Sleightholme, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward.

  • All Blacks captain Cane to retire from international rugby All Blacks captain Cane to retire from international rugby

    New Zealand captain Sam Cane has announced he will retire from international rugby at the end of 2024, having agreed a three-year contract with Japan Rugby League One team Tokyo Sungoliath.

    Cane made his All Blacks debut in 2012 and has represented his country 95 times, including through the team's triumphant run at the 2015 World Cup.

    The flanker succeeded Kieran Read as captain in 2020, though his most recent international outing ended with him suffering the ignominy of becoming the first man to be sent off in a Rugby World Cup final, as New Zealand were beaten by South Africa last year.

    Cane will be eligible to represent the All Blacks through the second half of 2024 after returning from an initial spell in Japan but will then head there permanently after New Zealand Rugby agreed to release him from his contract. 

    "A good opportunity came my way with Sungoliath willing to offer me a three-year contract," Cane said. "I had to weigh up everything and, in the end, with a young family it seemed like the best decision to help set us up for our future.

    "I had my time as captain and it was a huge honour and privilege. If I'm fortunate enough to be selected for the All Blacks this year then I'll still be myself. 

    "I love that team, and if part of my role is contributing leadership-wise, I'll be happy to support the new captain as best I can to help with a speedy transition."

  • Rees-Zammit relishing Mahomes advice as former rugby star eyes spot on Chiefs roster Rees-Zammit relishing Mahomes advice as former rugby star eyes spot on Chiefs roster

    Louis Rees-Zammit has likened Patrick Mahomes to an extra coach as he looks to make an impact in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Rees-Zammit shocked rugby union fans in January when he announced he was turning his back on the sport to enter the NFL's International Player Pathway programme. 

    He was signed by two-time defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City in March and is now looking to earn a place on their roster for 2024, learning the role of running back at the Chiefs' rookie minicamp after attending another training camp alongside Mahomes. 

    Rees-Zammit has made sure to pick the brains of Mahomes, who has led the Chiefs to six straight AFC Championship games and won three Super Bowl rings since being drafted in 2017.

    "It was amazing, all the quarterbacks and receivers were there, we were running routes, we were working in the gym", Rees-Zammit said of his experience at that camp in Texas.

    "It was a great two weeks, I definitely learned a lot with Pat and the other boys."

    Asked if Mahomes was acting like an extra coach, he said: "100 per cent. 

    "I'm new to the game so I'm trying to pick everyone's brains and try and pick up the sport as quick as possible because I want to be out there playing.

    "The way I can do that is picking the brains of everyone that's currently here and trying to learn the game as quickly as possible."

    Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been impressed by Rees-Zammit's attitude, saying: "He's so diligent with everything and wants to be so good at everything. I appreciate that. 

    "I like the fact he's got shorter steps initially, that's a good thing as a running back. If you're a long strider in there you've got to really work on making it through those tight adjustments you have to make. He seems to have a nice feel."
     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.