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Chris Ashton stands by his comments on James Lowe

Chris Ashton has stood by the comments he made about James Lowe being ‘too heavy and too slow’ and suggested a switch to centre for the Ireland player.

Lowe responded to the former England wingers comments during the week, explaining that he was fatigued during Johnny May’s try but accepted that he would have to do better in future.

“For [the criticism] 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 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,” Lowe said.

‘My thinking is use him like a centre’

Ashton caused a bit of a stir when he questioned whether James Lowe was capable of being an international winger but has maintained his view that the Leinster man is a “bit slow”.

“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.

“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,” Ashton told RugbyPass.

While the Harlequins player didn’t say Lowe wasn’t cut out for test rugby, he feels like the New Zealand-born winger needs to improve on his play off the ball.

“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,” Ashton commented.

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