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'He wasn't even trying to tackle': James Lowe on try heartache and Gael Fickou's defensive efforts

 

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Had James Lowe's try been given, it may have proved a different afternoon for Ireland.

Had James Lowe's try been given, it may have proved a different afternoon for Ireland.

PA

Had James Lowe's try been given, it may have proved a different afternoon for Ireland.

Nobody came closer to swinging yesterday's loss in Ireland's favour than James Lowe.

The Leinster wing, making his second Six Nations start, thought he had scored the first try of the day only for replays to reveal that the excellent French centre Gael Fickou had managed to momentarily force his foot into touch just prior to touching down.

Rather than go into a 8-0 lead with a conversion to come, the score remained 3-0 and France soon seized the initiative, taking a lead they would not relinquish through Charles Ollivon's try soon after.

"Fickou eh, he wasn't even trying to tackle, he was just trying to get me out," remembered Lowe. "That's a heads-up play.

"Talk about fine margins, he wasn't going to make the tackle so he tried to get me into touch and that's what he did. It was so close.

"Everyone did their part out there but those are the fine margins. It's heartbreak more than anything."

Having failed to get over the line himself, Lowe was one of those involved when France scored the decisive try through Damian Penaud.

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While much continues to be made of Lowe's seeming defensive frailties, especially at Test level, he maintains he's "going in the right direction".

"Aw man, critics, they're going to talk anyway, that's their job," he said.

"There's 99% of people who talk that I don't listen to because they have never set foot in that Aviva Stadium in a game.

"I worked on it so hard during the week, I was obviously highly frustrated last week, ball in hand, that's my natural game, it's the defence that I need to get better at and that's what I work on.

"It's fine margins, I can provide so much with the ball in hand, I just have to make sure I can nail on the defence.

"(This) was a good shift. Unfortunately I got that hit on that one tackle that he managed to bounce off but mate, if people don't think I'm going in the right direction they're not watching the right footy, are they?"

No matter what criticism comes the team's way in the wake of a second straight loss, head coach Andy Farrell believes Ireland must now show their character.

"Our approach and attitude won't change," he said. "I said to the boys in the changing rooms there that we talk about the strength of the group and how close they are; we will see how strong we are now because we will show our true character."

Belfast Telegraph


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