James Lowe's Leinster career started with approving nods from fans at the weekend. The New Zealander scored two tries in a Man of the Match performance against Treviso.
It will be at least St. Stephen's Day at Thomond Park before he will be seen in a Leinster jersey again. Lowe has not been registered for Leinster's European squad and so will not be eligible to face Exeter Chiefs in the upcoming back-to-back Champions Cup fixtures.
Leinster were unable to register the back owing to a rule which stipulates that only two non-EU players can be in a matchday squad. Those places were already occupied by Australian Scott Fardy and New Zealander Jamison Gibson-Park. Isa Nacewa was exempt as he has played for Fiji.
Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball on Wednesday night, Eddie O'Sullivan suggested it was a reality of which Leinster only became aware when they attempted to register the player.
Beyond that, O'Sullivan had genuine questions about why Leinster signed Lowe.
Looking at the logjam that Leinster have, I wonder why James Lowe was brought in at all.
If you look at the players they have now, they have Isa Nacewa, Fergus McFadden, Adam Byrne, Barry Daly, Jordan Larmour, Jack Kelly, Ian Fitzpatrick, Hugo Keenan. If you're a young winger now...
Lowe is 25-years-of-age, he's not some 30-year-old, 50-cap All-Black, who's going to bring a huge, vast wealth of experience from playing with the All Blacks. He's as young as the lads around him and it's a complete logjam in their wing positions.
It's a funny signing in that if you're a young winger at Leinster, you'd wonder where your future lies.
O'Sullivan likened the abundance of back three options at Leinster to the situation which will see Jordi Murphy leave to join Ulster at the end of the season.
Keith Wood, who was also a guest, suggested that Lowe was signed as the heir to Isa Nacewa, a player who brings a skillset which benefits all those around him.
The argument that Lowe's presence will benefit young players at Leinster is one O'Sullivan does not buy.
I don't see how. Why is is some messiah that's going to walk into Leinster, he's 25-years-of-age, he doesn't have this vast wealth of experience that we've seen from other players who have come in.
You have to say that there were players who were game-changers at certain clubs. John Langford was one at Munster, for sure. Rocky Elsom was a game-changer at Leinster. Players with vast experience behind them - World Cups, success. They can have it but James Lowe is 25. He's played at a high level but how is he going to make this massive shift for young fellas because he's not much younger than most.
A lot of those young players must wonder where their future lies.
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