James Lowe back in action

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Lowe, 29, a four-time Maori All Black, who played 53 games for the Chiefs and 46 for Tasman, played six Tests for Ireland last year before tearing a hamstring that resulted in him missing Ireland's summer Tests against Japan and the United States.

 

He said the injury was one where he could have made it a lot worse if he'd kept trying.

 

"It took a lot longer to recover from. It was one of those ones where I really wanted to get back but, by being a little bit naïve it did me more damage than good," he told the Irish Independent.

 

"I just had to stamp it out and say: 'Look, you're not going to be playing for the rest of the season'. Once I'd accepted that it healed a lot quicker.

 

"I'm back, fully fit. I'm running around and getting flogged. We're ready to rumble," he said.

 

Enforced rest ensured he was prepared for the new season, and he said he felt sorry for those players involved in the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

"The tour wasn't what everyone was expecting by any means, but the fact they played rugby for almost a year consistently is something no body should be used to," he said.

 

While it had been tough on them he was impressed with the contribution his Leinster teammates Robbie Henshaw, Jack Conan and Tadhg Furlong made to the effort.

 

"Everyone from Leinster put their hand up during the series," he said.

 

Lowe said he had been enthralled by the series, but saw it as a missed opportunity for the Lions.

 

"There are some trends that will come out of it. South Africa played to their strengths.

 

"They've got some of the biggest humans in the world in that forward pack. The Lions forward pack didn't roll over by any means, but the South Africans have a game-plan, and they stuck to it.

 

"I don't think the game of rugby will lean towards that, it's based on the personnel that you have," he said.

 

"It wasn't champagne rugby, but it was a Test series we were all glued to," he said.

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