Minutes on the pitch the focus for Michael Lowry’s Ulster development

Since breaking into the Ulster side, debate has raged over Michael Lowry’s best position.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 9:00 am

The 23-year-old won three Schools’ Cups playing at out half for RBAI but from the time he stepped up to the professional ranks Lowry has played most of his rugby at full back.

Last season Lowry nailed down the Ulster No15 and was called into an Ireland training squad by Andy Farrell.

At the start of this season Lowry found himself on the bench as Billy Burns’ understudy at out half but returned to the starting line-up at full back for the big wins in the RDS over Leinster, Clermont and Northampton.

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Ulster’s Michael Lowry. Pic by Getty.

Lowry just wants to play as much as he can regardless of what shirt he is wearing.

“I just want to be on the pitch and everyone just wants to be on the pitch starting but sometimes you just have to be patient and just control what you can control because selection is out of my hands,” said Lowry. “I can only control what I’m doing on the pitch.

“I’m just being patient and staying fit, trying to stay fit goes a long way...if you are training week in and week out and you are training well you always have a chance.

“It has been good getting back into the starting team over the last number of weeks, I’m just enjoying playing and being grateful that I have got an opportunity to start playing again.

“The transition of trying to get a bit more game-time at 10, I had nearly taken a wee step back and just sort of learning has definitely helped and allowed me to work on little things to help facilitate that role.

“Whether that might be kicking or passing, I knew myself but there was a lot of help from the coaches on what I needed to work on in those little skill boxes that we have through the week.

“I love playing 15 as much as I love playing 10, looking long-term, hopefully I can put my skills into more of a 10 positioning-wise but for the time being just getting on the pitch is a helping hand in being a second playmaker and I’m happy to do so at the minute.”

Eventually Lowry wants the Ulster out half shirt.

“I think it has always been an intention from playing at school but I just want to be on the pitch,” he said. “Having those conversations with coaches I think that is probably the long-term option.

“Our back three is stacked but, unfortunately, there have been a lot of injuries at the minute so I’m nearly playing because of injuries...but I’ll take that opportunity.”

“We will have little conversations (with coaching staff) throughout the year talking about our work-ons and what we need to do and even positional-wise what we see out of any players and what position they will eventually look to nail down.

“It is open for discussion all the time and things can change very quickly.”

Lowry is hoping to start the Boxing Day clash with Connacht as Andy Friend’s side head to Kingspan Stadium looking to complete a league double over Ulster.

“Connacht have a lot of players on form and the back three has been very useful but we are used to coming up against teams that have a very dangerous back three,” said Lowry. “I guess we have to be aware of them but we have to focus on what we can bring to the game as well.

“We have a lot of players that are in form so if we can nail down what we do and do it well, hopefully, that nullifies them.”

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