- South Africa ‘a whole new beast’ for Ireland – Lowe.
Wing James Lowe says Ireland want to make a “statement” in Saturday’s big Rugby World Cup Pool B encounter with South Africa in Paris.
South Africa, the reigning champions, take on Andy Farrell’s Ireland, who are the top-ranked side in the world.
Both teams won their opening two Pool B matches as Ireland beat Romania and Tonga while the Springboks defeated Scotland and the Romanians.
“This week is a whole new beast, isn’t it?” said Lowe.
“We are really going to find out where we are at and we think we are in a good place.
“We have put ourselves on the front foot and hopefully on Saturday the performance will show that.
“To really put a statement on this competition is hopefully what we’re going to get and that will be reflected by the performance.
“Obviously as the stakes get bigger the further we go throughout this tournament, it’s not do or die but there’s no way we are going out there to lose.”
South Africa’s decision to have seven forwards and just one back on their bench for Saturday has caused a stir in the rugby world, but Farrell said he “loved” their approach.
Lowe said he understood why they focused on the forwards., and added that Cobus Reinach was an “exceptional” scrum-half who can also cover the wing.
“If I was the only back on the bench, we would be in a lot of trouble,” laughed the Ireland wing.
“It was always going to be something different, wasn’t it?
“I think this is the second time they’ve done it. It worked the first time hence why they are trying it again.
“It will be interesting to know the dynamic they will use if they did bring him [Reinach] on, who will move to where.
“Maybe Faf [de Klerk, scrum-half] will go to 10 maybe, I don’t know.”
While the Springboks are renowned for their power, aided by their forward-packed bench, Lowe says their backline are extremely dangerous and contain “freaks”.
“They are very, very big men but you look at their back line – it’s scary enough,” the 31-year-old added.
“You just look at the two wingers [Kurt-Lee Arendse and Cheslin Kolbe].
“They are great on their feet, great reads on ‘d’ [defence], seriously brave for their size and I know we can probably expect them to kick the ball a lot, but ball in hand they have some serious individual threats and they have proven how good they are.
“Yeah, they are physical but they also have some freaks in the back line.”