Don't be surprised if Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team's outside back Jonah Lowe gets another game against the Lions later this month.
That was the message from his Clive club side's head coach Blair Cross last night as he reflected on Lowe's contribution to the Provincial Barbarians gutsy performance during a 13-7 loss to the Lions at Whangarei's Toll Stadium on Saturday night. Lowe took the field as an 18th-minute replacement for Inga Finau when the Canterbury centre collected a shoulder injury.
He impressed with his defensive workrate and all-round enthusiasm. Lowe made the most of his limited attacking opportunities and was unlucky not to score when Counties-Manukau winger Sam Vaka failed to realise Lowe was unmarked and available for an inside pass after Vaka did well to gather a kick ahead and keep the ball in play.
"I thought Jonah was really keen. He probably expected between 20 and 30 minutes so to play 60-odd was an impressive effort," Cross said.
"Jonah has been hanging for some game time at the next level after training so well with the Hurricanes but as yet has not had a crack at Super level. I was down at the Hurricanes headquarters the other week and the Canes coaching staff have been impressed with how hard he has been working.
"Depending on how many Hurricanes midfielders or wingers make the All Blacks squad Jonah could make the Hurricanes 23 to play the Lions in Wellington on June 27," Cross said.
"All the guys at the club are stoked for Tiaan [Baby Blacks pivot Falcon] and Jonah. Obviously it would be great to have them on board playing for us but it is a club's job to develop players so they can go on to bigger and better things."
While 2016 Baby Black Lowe relished his first stint on the international stage since the Brisbane Tens in February his parents Derek and Maliana, who he gave his free tickets to, featured regularly in crowd shots during televised coverage of the match.
"Derek told me he brought 12 tickets for other family members too. They would have been thrilled with Jonah's performance and amount of minutes," Cross added.
Hastings Boys' High School product and Otago hooker Sam Anderson-Heather, the Provincial Barbarians captain, scored the hosts only try in the 22nd minute. Wellington-based former Magpies prop Tolu Fahamokioa took the field as a 49th-minute replacement and impressed with his physicality and mobility.
British and Irish Lions 13 (Anthony Watson try; Jonathan Sexton, Greig Laidlaw pens; Owen Farrell con), Provincial Barbarians 7 (Sam Anderson-Heather try; Bryn Gatland con). HT: Barbarians 7-3.