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Chiefs wing Lowe leaving for Leinster

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/03/2017
James Lowe of the Chiefs makes a break during the round five Super Rugby match against the Western Force on March 26, 2016 © Hannah Peters/Getty Images James Lowe of the Chiefs makes a break during the round five Super Rugby match against the Western Force on March 26, 2016

Exciting Chiefs wing James Lowe is putting his All Blacks ambitions to the side after agreeing to a three-year club contract in Ireland.

One of the premier outside backs in New Zealand rugby, 24-year-old Lowe announced he will join Leinster following an NPC campaign with Tasman later this year.

It is another significant departure following recent announcements from All Blacks Aaron Cruden (Montpellier), Steven Luatua (Bristol) and Charlie Faumuina (Toulouse).

While Lowe is yet to play a Test, he is widely regarded as an international-class winger, boasting pace, finishing power and capable of garnering enormous distance with his kicking boot.

He has scored six tries in five games for the Maori All Blacks. His three tries in the first two rounds of Super Rugby give him 18 in 39 Chiefs appearances since his debut in 2014.

Lowe says his departure comes with a heavy heart.

"This decision has not been an easy one. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an All Black," the Tasman winger said in a statement.

"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."

Lowe believes his best rugby is still to be played and hasn't ruled out a return to the New Zealand game.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says Lowe's contribution has been immeasurable.

"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."

This week Leinster also announced the signing of Australian Test flanker Scott Fardy.

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