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'Too big, too heavy, too slow' – Former England winger Ashton launches scathing criticism of James Lowe


James Lowe

James Lowe

James Lowe

Former England winger Chris Ashton has launched a scathing criticism of Ireland’s James Lowe in the aftermath of Saturday’s game at Twickenham.

The Sale Sharks player, who played 44 times for his country after converting from rugby league, believes the Leinster star was at fault for Jonny May’s wonder try in England’s 18-7 win.

Former New Zealand Maori cap Lowe, who made a big impact on his Ireland debut against Wales two weeks' ago, struggled to have the same impact on his second Ireland outing at Twickenham.

The 28-year-old is set to have a big role to play in Andy Farrell's side in the coming years, but Ashton believes he needs to get faster and lighter to play at this level.

“Jonny’s was a really good try. Even the shanked kick, he managed to outsprint seven players across the pitch,” he said. “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 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 dragging a tractor, mate, turning. I watched him during the game. He is too big, too heavy, too slow.”

Ashton was also fiercely critical of Andy Farrell’s game-plan against an England side who relished the physical contest and made 217 tackles to Ireland's 85.

“From Ireland’s point of view, they spoke before the game about what they needed to do. Matching England’s physicality," he said.

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“Watching the game, apart from a couple of intelligent kicks which I thought they did a lot of, they just played into England’s hands.

“Easy reading attack, running straight into people… if you’re going to run straight into (Sam) Underhill, Tom Curry, Mako (Vunipola) you’re just going to get banged.

“That’s exactly what happened.

“The whole England thing now is based on what Saracens have done over the past five, 10 years. They’re in the middle of all of this and they love it.

“They don’t want the ball. England don’t want the ball, they just want to smash you backwards.”

On the same podcast, former England scrum-half Danny Care echoed Ashton’s comments on Andy Farrell’s tactics.

“I was really surprised by how Ireland played,” the Harlequins player said.

“Picking (Jamison) Gibson-Park at No 9, you say: ‘Right, they might do something different. They might throw the ball around a bit more and try little chips in behind…

“James Lowe would try left-footed grubbers every time he got the ball, but they were trying to beat England at their own game. Trying to run over the top of them.

“Every hit was wincing. Underhill, Curry, Maro (Itoje) just battering green jerseys. As Ashy said, that’s what England are basing their game on. For me, they’re the best defensive side in the world.”

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