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'I don't hate them as a people' - Lowe wants Leinster to be 'hated'

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Ireland wing James Lowe “hates” the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise because they have dominated the competition for so many years and wants Leinster to receive the same kind of response by proving they are the best team in the Heineken Cup starting with their opening round game with winless Bath in Dublin.

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New Zealander Lowe, who qualified for Ireland on residency grounds after playing Super Rugby for the Chiefs, means his seemingly harsh verdict on the Crusaders as a compliment. He explained: “I hate the Crusaders, just to put it out there. I have loved playing them and I grew up in the Crusader region so it’s a funny thing for me to say.

“I don’t hate them as a people, I just don’t like them as a franchise because I have played against them and lost against them so many times. So, that’s loosely thrown out that hate term. A lot of my best friends play for their team and I went to school with a few other starters and you hate them because they’re so good.

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“That’s how I would love to be seen like that at Leinster. It’s just one of those things that they’ve been so good for so many years they’ve won numerous titles back to back so that’s where the hatred is, only because they’re so good.”

It falls to Bath, who have lost all nine Premiership matches this season, to face the power of the four times champions in Dublin with Lowe happy to report they are “chomping at the bit at the moment and ready to rumble.”

Irish rugby is still riding the wave of euphoria created by the 29-20 win over the All Blacks in the Autumn Nations series with Lowe scoring the first try against his fellow countrymen and then delivering a crucial tackle which has helped change perceptions about the 29-year-old’s defence. Now, Lowe will pull on the blue of Leinster alongside many of the players who beat the All Blacks with the chance to launch what they hope will be a fifth title triumph.

Having fallen at the semi-final stage to La Rochelle last season, Leinster know they have ground to make up and home and away fixtures with Bath and Montpellier offer an opportunity to prove they are an even more dangerous force.

Lowe added: “We haven’t won (the Cup) in a long time. We have hunger and talent that wants to perform and we haven’t in the last two years. We want five this year.”

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