Hurricanes and Hawke's Bay rugby flanker Karl Lowe gave his fans an early Super Rugby season scare on Saturday night.
Lowe, 28, collected a sprained hand in the first half of the Canes 34-20 loss to the Blues in Wellington. As he received treatment there were fears this could be yet another shortened Super season for Lowe, who missed the entire 2011 Super season with a knee injury and a fair chunk of last year's Super season with a similar problem.
"It was a bit sore when it happened but I was happy to complete the 80 minutes. All the hard work during the pre-season has paid off ... I'm injury free and I was happy with my workrate," Lowe said.
The veteran of 91 first-class games for the Magpies since 2004 had a huge defensive workrate and always broke the advantage line on the charge. However, he agreed too many mistakes by the hosts - including soft turnovers when the Canes had the Blues "under the pump in their own 22" - proved costly.
"Reducing those mistakes is something we must work on during our next couple of trainings before we head to Brisbane," Lowe said, referring to the Canes' next outing against the Reds on Friday night.
While the Canes' outside backs defence was leaky at times, Lowe and his fellow forwards can be proud of their defensive work. Lowe agreed the hosts shouldn't have been on defence as often as they were, "particularly when you are up against big boys like the Blues have, it can take its toll".
He has yet to decide if he will have another ITM Cup season with the Magpies but says he should have a decision on that during the next couple of months.
Lowe noted that Magpies hooker Ash Dixon, a non-playing sub on Saturday night, is enjoying the Canes environment. "Ash will get an opportunity before too long."
While All Black commitments are likely to limit new Magpies and Hurricanes prop Ben Franks' ITM Cup appearances, Lowe said Franks has already been quizzing him about Hawke's Bay and the Magpies' set-up.