Chris Ashton has stood by his comments about Ireland winger James Lowe, saying “there’s no place for a rest” in Test rugby.
Speaking to Jim Hamilton on RugbyPass’ All Access podcast, the Harlequins winger was quizzed about his description of Lowe as “too big, too heavy, too slow” in the wake of Ireland’s loss to England at Twickenham in November.
The 33-year-old qualified that statement on social media soon after, saying he was specifically referring to Jonny May’s try, and Lowe’s pedestrian attempt to trackback. Ashton then questioned if Lowe is being used correctly, as both he and Hamilton agreed that he is built like a centre.
“I happened to say for the Jonny May try that he looks a bit big and a little bit slow and I stand by it,” Ashton said. “He’s a top player, the things he has done for Leinster have changed some of Leinster’s attack and he’s been part of Championship winning teams, so obviously he is an amazing player. But he is naturally big, so if he’s [built like a] centre, my thinking is use him like a centre, you don’t get him chasing kicks. What is the point in James Lowe chasing kicks? He’s not going to be able to turn, come back, go again, he’s not going to be able to do what Jonny May does or Anthony Watson.
“In the way [Ireland] wanted to play against England, they’re not really using him enough. I watched them when they were in the 22 attacking, and he was just stood on his wing. I was like ‘go get the ball, go and play forward and just carry the ball,’ that’s what he needs to be doing.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 11, 2020
When asked if he is suited to Test rugby, Ashton responded: “From what I’ve seen, at that level, because the margins are so small, there’s no place for a rest or just clocking off for 30 seconds because something will happen in the game, momentum will change, and you could have solved that problem.
“So take that example of May’s try, he could have solved that problem for Ireland right there and then. He could have got back and done something out of the blue. You can’t always wait for a try-scoring moment, you’ve got to be everywhere all the time and that just takes a bit of learning and a bit of experience.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now