England v Ireland: James Lowe expects injured captain Johnny Sexton to still influence Twickenham contest

James Lowe (left) enjoyed a try-scoring debut for Ireland against Wales
James Lowe (left) enjoyed a try-scoring debut for Ireland against Wales

New Ireland wing James Lowe expects injured captain Johnny Sexton to still be a major influence on the squad for Saturday's meeting with England.

Fly-half Sexton will miss the Autumn Nations Cup match at Twickenham after injuring a hamstring in their win over Wales in the competition opener.

Lowe, who scored on an impressive debut in Dublin for his adopted country, said his Leinster team-mate will remain a rallying force for the Ireland players.

"He's still in the building," he said.

"He's still going to be barking at us all week as he always does.

"He's so emotional about this team. Every time he talks about Ireland or when he's disappointed about himself, he gets so emotional but that's because he cares so much.

"Trust me, he will be everywhere this week to make sure we all know our stuff. I will definitely be in his ear trying to get a few nuggets of gold."

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, who is also without injured centre Robbie Henshaw, has a call to make on who captains his side for what is likely to be their toughest fixture of the tournament in London.

Lock James Ryan shouldered the responsibility for the duration of the Wales game following Sexton's premature departure and New Zealand-born Lowe, who is also club team-mates with the 24-year-old, praised his maturity, influence and leadership.

James Ryan
Ryan took over the captaincy when Sexton went off against Wales

"Last night when I was sitting in my bedroom having a cup of tea, he's walking around, he's knocking on people's doors making sure that everything is sorted, everyone knew what they needed to do," Lowe said of Ryan.

"Earlier on (in his career) he would lead by example but now he's grown into himself, he's some leader, he's ridiculously mature.

"He's such a calm head. The fact that he's only just got his driver's licence baffles me because he's so mature on the rugby field. Don't tell him this but he's a pretty unique man."

Looking ahead to facing England on Saturday, Lowe is relishing the challenge of facing last year's World Cup finalists.

"Wales are obviously a very, very strong international team - haven't had the form of late - but when I look at that back three (of England), there's a lot of international Test rugby between all three of them," he added.

"Credit there (to Wales) but this is a whole new beast. To play England at Twickenham is huge. We'll go in with a plan and emotionally, mentally, physically if we get all our ducks in a row, I don't see why we can't go over there and knock them over."

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