Former England winger Chris Ashton has explained his recent comments labelling Ireland’s James Lowe “too big, too heavy, too slow”. Ashton pulled no punches when analysing the efforts of Lowe in Jonny May’s try at Twickenham on Saturday.
Speaking on the BBC Radio Rugby Union Weekly podcast, he said:
“Jonny’s was a really good try. Even the shanked kick, he managed to outsprint seven players across the pitch. That probably says something about the [Ireland] team.
“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 as James Lowe is to go across the pitch and get the ball.
“Where was James Lowe? He’s dragging a dresser back there. He’s too big. He’s like a tractor, mate, turning. I watched him during the game, he is too big, too heavy, too slow.”
— springbokbabyyy (@springbokbabyyy) November 26, 2020
In the wake of those comments, Ashton has explained himself on Twitter, saying that he was not criticising Lowe as a player entirely, rather just highlighting that specific moment.
In response to this post I felt the need to clear up the confusion.
My comment was to do with Jonny May’s try ONLY and not James Lowe as a rugby player. He is a outstanding player and will play for Ireland for many years to come.
— Chris Ashton (@ChrisAshton1) November 25, 2020
These were inflammatory remarks by Ashton, but that does not necessarily mean that everyone disagrees with him.
As the loss to England has been dissected, Lowe has been picked up for his work rate in May’s try, particularly as Peter O’Mahony outpaced him as he worked back to try and stop it.
The Englishman’s meandering run seemed to cover such a vast expanse of the field that it is almost indefensible to not have worked back, even if May started his run on the other side of the field.
May’s try has been hailed as one of the great tries to be scored at Twickenham and has been likened to Ashton’s effort against Australia in 2010.
You can see May’s try in the highlights below.