Born: 22 January, 1970
Test record: 17 Tests – 2 tries (8 points)
Tours: 1993 tour of Great Britain and France, 1994 tour of Papua New Guinea, 1995 World Cup, 1999 Tri Nations
Rugged Northcote front-rower Jason Lowrie graduated to the Kiwis team in 1993 after joining Eastern Suburbs Roosters, racking up 17 Test appearances – a tally that would have been greater if not for the Super League war – and carving out an admirable nine-season career in the Australian premiership.
A 1988 Junior Kiwi in a pack that included the likes of Quentin Pongia and Hitro Okesene, Lowrie was still only 19 when he starred in Northcote’s capture of the Fox Memorial and Lion Red Club National titles in 1989.
Lowrie represented New Zealand Māori against Great Britain in 1990 and made a belated debut for Auckland in 1992, again facing the Lions, while he featured as the Tigers took out further Fox Memorial crowns in 1991-92.
The tyro played every match of the Roosters’ 1993 campaign to win a spot in the Kiwis’ squad to tour Britain and France. Lowrie, the grandnephew of 1919-24 Kiwi Sam Lowrie, came off the bench in the series opener against Great Britain and the one-off Test against France among 10 appearances on tour.
Lowrie was a front-row starter in the first Test against Papua New Guinea at Goroka but a hamstring injury ruled him out of the second. His Test tally ballooned to 11 matches after playing in every fixture of New Zealand’s jam-packed 1995 schedule: the two-Test home series against France, the three-match series in Australia and all three games at the England-hosted World Cup.
A physical, ultra-consistent customer up front, Lowrie flourished in a Roosters line-up that became a perennial heavyweight from 1996. But signing with the ARL during the code’s great split ruled him out of Kiwis contention in 1996-97 (though he did play for Rest of the World against Australia in ’97), while injuries ruined his hopes of a recall in 1998.
Lowrie ended a four-year Kiwis hiatus in the 1999 Anzac Test after joining Balmain, playing all 24 matches in the club’s last season as a standalone entity. The hardman’s first-grade tryscoring duck (which he would eventually break the following season in his 139th game) garnered plenty of attention, but he scored a memorable maiden Test four-pointer in New Zealand’s 1999 Tri Nations round-robin win over Australia and dotted down again in a one-off Test against Tonga week later.
The 29-year-old also played in the Kiwis’ big win over Great Britain and the heart-breaking loss to the Kangaroos in the Tri Nations final before linking with the fledgling Wests Tigers joint venture.
Lowrie made his last Test appearance in the inauspicious 52-0 Anzac Test loss in 2000 with injury ending his season little over a week later. Following a solid farewell campaign with the embattled Tigers in 2001, the veteran went abroad to play for French club Union Treiziste Catalane.