Contepomi backs James Lowe to respond for Ireland amidst criticism

LEINSTER ASSISTANT COACH Felipe Contepomi has backed James Lowe to bounce back following criticism of his performances for Ireland in the Six Nations.

The 28-year-old has come in for scrutiny for defensive errors, including a missed tackle against Scotland yesterday. 

While Contepomi believes Lowe’s main strengths are in attack rather than defence, his viewpoint is that the Leinster wing is still getting used to a different defensive system with Ireland.

“From what I can see from the outside, as a spectator, I can see the system is different to the system we have here,” said Contepomi. “Sometimes for players, it’s hard to change from one set-up to the other and be very cohesive in that system.

“Now, it’s not an excuse. If you’re an international player, you have to be able to do that and that’s the way it is.

“In terms of his defence, his individual technique and so on, James Lowe is not renowned for his defensive attributes. He is more renowned for ball-in-hand moving forward, so definitely it won’t be his best part of the game.

“But he has been good enough with us, definitely there are things to work on and we always have that but it’s not only with James. There are many other players that we keep on working on polishing that technique and understanding and performing within our system.”

Contepomi is confident that Lowe will respond to the pressure in a positive manner.

“I definitely back him,” said the former Argentina out-half. “He is a guy that tries to get better and I will definitely back him up.

“But I’ve heard before [Jacob] Stockdale also being criticised and it comes towards [wings] sometimes, but we would definitely like Ireland to have the best wing defenders but that’s also the life of a winger.

“Everyone gives them praise when they have the ball and move forward, then they have to make sure they don’t make easy mistakes in defence because they are going to be criticised. It’s part of their life, you know, the winger’s life.

“Knowing James, he is quite a relaxed guy in terms of always being very confident in himself. 

“International level is a different level and he’s experiencing that for the first time in the last four or five months, so it’s never going to be easy and a straightforward thing walking into international level.

“Maybe the expectations were very high, I don’t know, but you need to give him time to get things right and experience it.

“Sometimes it’s not about making errors because everyone makes errors, it’s how you bounce back from them and I’m sure he is going to work really hard on them and will bounce back properly and be the player everyone wants him to be.”