James Lowe has responded to Chris Ashton’s comments about how the Leinster star is ‘too big, too heavy, too slow’ following the Autumn Nations Cup clash between Ireland and England in November.
Lowe appeared slow to cover back to cover a chip ahead by May when the England winger scored his 85 metre wonder try in their 18 – 7 defeat of Ireland in Round Three of the tournament on November 21st. Ashton wasn’t the only one to criticise Lowe’s endurance after the match, but his comments grabbed headlines.
‘If I was a winger on the opposite side of the pitch from Jonny; say I was James Lowe on the Ireland team… when Jonny shanks that kick across the pitch my job is to go across the pitch and get the ball,” said the former England winger. ‘Where was James Lowe? He’s dragging a dresser back there. He’s too big. He’s dragging a tractor, mate, turning. I watched him during the game. He is too big, too heavy, too slow.’
Now the 106kg winger has had an opportunity to address the criticism head-on. Speaking on The Offload podcast, Lowe explained the four phases that lead up to try and had left him ‘b******ed’.
“I don’t listen to much of the reporting that’s going on, due to the fact that a lot of the people that report on rugby will report on the football at the weekend and when Wimbledon comes up, all of a sudden they’re tennis pros, then McGregor will fight and they’ve fought in an undercard in the UFC. That’s my general opinion of it.
“For it to come from a player, someone that is recently out of the sport, to another person who’s just coming on to the international stage, it’s so tough. You know Zeebs, you miss one moment and all of a sudden Jonny May scores one of the tries of the year and that there could have easily been stopped by me if I had gone back, if I had literally just done my job.
“I take that on the chin any day of the week.
“If you want to look into what really led up to that. We got into the position, we were in, because I chased a kick, and hit Billy, and tried to be a nuisance at the ruck.
“I ran back and then turned around and chased a box kick. Ended up getting us a penalty, we kicked the corner, then that’s how the lineout happened. I was absolutely b*****ed at that stage and that’s no excuse, by any means, because it’s international rugby. This is what’s expected of you, that’s your job.
“I should have been there. I take it on the chin.”
Podcast regular Simon Zebo says he thought Lowe had a “great game” and that in normal circumstances, someone would have made ‘the tackle on the edge, and you would have got your 20-second breather.’
“Like you said a lot of people came out of the woodwork. I don’t read all that sort of stuff,’ said Lowe. ‘You start getting opinions from people who haven’t played rugby since schoolboy stuff. ‘Ah yeah, I could have made it’ That’s what they say at the pub.”
"Is it really a Chris Ashton thing to do? Just to leave a club like that [mid-season]? It’s not.”https://t.co/3oc9OXIJGe
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 11, 2020
“If we had won that game, barely a thing would have been said [of Lowe’s failure to cover across]. It would have been ‘Jonny May’s amazing try’, it wouldn’t have been ‘Lowie didn’t chase back’. It’s such a fickle game.
“The way I like to look at it is that as a sportsman, you literally you have an exam every weekend, but it’s not just one person marking the exam, all of a sudden it’s X amount of people, it’s everybody at home watching on TV, they’re all marking the exam as well, they’re all wagging the finger. They’ve all got a voice on social media and they’re not afraid to use it.”
“That’s all part and parcel of professional sport. Take it on the chin mate, the sun’s going to come up and I’m going to get another chance. And Jesus, if Chris Ashton was there,” quipped Lowe to conclude the matter.
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