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The Player of the Week Award is brought to you by Rhino Rugby, makers of high-quality, made-in-America rugby balls, rucking pads, tackle bags, and scrum machines.

The Austin Blacks are looking as powerful as ever atop the Texas league, and with Head Coach Lachlan Ferguson on a mission to get their standard high enough to win come national playoff time as well, they are not satisfied.

The rise in standard in the Texas state capital can be attributed to any number of things, but captain and No. 8 James Lowery is certainly one of them.

The New Zealand-born Lowery, who joined the club in January and was quickly installed as captain, is, said Ferguson, “an amazing calming influence. His leadership has really helped us. He’s got a calm way about him, and he’s exceptional between the ears.”

And between the lines. Get tackled by Lowery when you don’t have perfect body position, and like as not you’ll lose the ball.

That extra possession has helped Austin to a 6-0-1 record and a ten-point cushion in the Texas standings. But it’s Lowery’s leadership that had Austin thinking they might do a little better once the crossover playoffs start.

Joe Lowery is our RUGBYMag/Rhino Rugby Player of the Week.