Tommy Bowe: The strings to Ospreys' utility back

After surprisingly quitting Irish rugby last season, Ireland's Tommy Bowe is enjoying a new lease of life at the Ospreys

Just a year ago Tommy Bowe felt his world had fallen apart. Having been left out of Ireland's 30-man World Cup squad bound for France, the Ulsterman could only watch with horror from his home in Belfast as Eddie O'Sullivan's side crashed out of the tournament at the pool stages.

To make matters worse, Brian Carney, the former rugby league star player picked ahead of him, had been a fringe player through the tournament.



Bowe could have been forgiven for thinking that his international career was over at the tender age of just 23.



Despite scoring on his Ireland debut against the USA in 2004 and winning caps against Japan, Argentina, Italy and France, Bowe returned to the international wilderness in February 2006 after a poor game in Ireland's Six Nations defeat in Paris.



Although he was recalled for Ireland's second string tour of Argentina in June 2007, an injury ended it prematurely and then came the bitter disappointment of missing out on a World Cup place to Carney.



But coaches often say you learn most about a player during the tough times, and Bowe's reaction to the biggest setback of his career has revealed a teak-tough character that is masked by his easy-going manner off the pitch.



"It was a horrible time," recalls Bowe. "Before the summer tour of Argentina I was thinking if I put two good performances in here hopefully I should be going to the World Cup and I spoke to Eddie (O'Sullivan) about it.



"But unfortunately I hurt myself in the first match and it didn't go the way I wanted it to do so. I didn't get the nod anyway and I was really disappointed.



"I didn't know whether to be annoyed or frustrated or what to do. What can you do? Mark McCall (the then Ulster coach) told me if I wanted to play to get back on the horse again."



Get back on the horse he did. And despite Ulster's horrendous season, his regular eye-catching performances helped to win back his place in the Ireland squad during last season's Six Nations.



He also produced a shock of his own when he announced he would be leaving Ulster after five seasons to join the Ospreys and by the end of the season had received the greatest accolade any player seeks: recognition by his peers.



Bowe beat off stiff competition from Leinster No.8 Jamie Heaslip and Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan to win the Irish Rugby Players Association Players' Player of the Year award.



And having made a flying start to his Ospreys career this season, the 24-year-old is not only looking like a definite start for Ireland during the autumn Test series as new coach Declan Kidney takes his bow, but the 6ft 3in, 15st giant is being mentioned as a potential Lions candidate.



Bowe equalled the Magners League try-scoring record with a touchdown against Ulster in the 43-0 rout at the Liberty Stadium in September, taking his tally to 30, while he also crossed the whitewash for tries against Cardiff Blues and Harlequins after only five appearances for the Ospreys.



"Even in the previous Ireland regime I found it astounding how they could keep Tommy out for so long," said Ospreys coach Sean Holley.



"He is a shoe-in for me in the Ireland team. He's on form, he is young, he is fit, he is versatile, defends well and is good in the air."



Holley's mention of versatility is reference to his decision to switch Bowe from right wing to outside centre, and Declan Kidney will have taken note. "I have most of my experience on the wing but I always wanted to play full-back or centre while I was at Ulster and when I came over here, one of the main things I discussed with the coaches was if I could have a go," says Bowe.



"I am more than happy to get a run at 13 and get the opportunity to add to different areas of my game. Obviously I play most of my rugby on the wing but it is great to be able to mix it up.



"Obviously I have no regrets coming here at all and I am looking to move on to bigger and better things."



Holley's decision to move Bowe to the midfield was as much about accommodating the burgeoning talents of wingers Shane Williams and Nikki Walker into the Ospreys backline as well.



But rather than find the competition for places intimidating, Bowe says it was just what he wanted to bring a new edge to his game after five seasons with Ulster.



"The thing that attracted me to the Ospreys in the beginning is that you have to turn up on Monday morning and fight for your position every week," adds Bowe.



"I am not being big-headed or anything but I was always confident enough that I would be playing every week with Ulster.



"But over here at the Ospreys, it is a different story. You have to bust your ass on a Monday morning to try to show what you are worth in training and if you don't perform at the weekend, you don't expect to be playing the following week."



Although firmly an Ospreys player now, Bowe admits he still keeps an eye out for Ulster's results.



And although Matt Williams' side have endured tough starts to their Magners League and Heineken Cup campaigns, he believes the Ravenhill outfit are heading in the right direction.



"You don't turn into a bad team overnight," he says. "Ulster won the Magners League a couple of years ago, I was there, and I think there is just a bit of a lack of confidence with the players. I don't think they are far off."

This story was sourced from International Rugby News

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?