TOMMY BOWE MISSED out on the battling victory achieved by Ulster’s second string, over Munster, at the weekend. With the likes of Bowe, Ruan Pienaar and Rory Best hoping to return, it is very much a case of the senior players saying ‘We’ll take it from here lads’.
The winger has scored six tries in 12 games this season but has missed out on some of his team’s big matches. He is a month into his latest comeback and has been on the losing side in three of the four matches he has featured in. Bowe remains positive, however, that two big performances could yet see the season viewed as a success.
Bowe told TheScore.ie: “We’ve been in two finals in the last two years and to have been knocked out by Leinster in both of them is quite frustrating. We’ll be playing Leinster again in the RDS and we’re looking at it as a massive opportunity to reach another final.”
Sendings off to Jared Payne, against Saracens in a Heineken Cup quarter final defeat, and Tom Court, in the recent league loss to Leinster, had Ulster bristling but Bowe points to Ospreys loss to Zebre as a hopeful turning point. He said, “There’s a fair bit of positivity now and hope that things may be heading in our direction and, when it comes to knock-out rugby, anything can happen.”
Bowe commented, “We went down to them with 14 men, last time out. That was disappointed as it was our first game at the new Ravenhill. We beat them twice in the league last year but haven’t been as fortunate this year.” Bowe added:
Those defeats will play as good motivation for us, as will the fact that we won at the RDS last season. We’ll be very confident going into the game. If we can keep 15 men on the pitch and get a couple of key guys back from injuries, we’ll have a great team heading down and a great chance of getting the win.
“We’ve been knocking on the door for the last couple of years while Leinster have been the most successful team in Europe for the last five or six. They’re not an easy team to beat, especially in their back yard, but that won’t stop us from heading down with confidence that we can get the result.”
Asked if he has two 80 minute performances, back-to-back, Bowe remarked, “Jesus, I’d like to play now as much as I can, considering how much I’ve missed during the season. I’d love to travel over [to Argentina with Ireland] but we’ll have to see how I go over the next few weeks.”
“From a wear and tear point of view,” he added. “I feel I could continue on for another couple of months. I’m sure a lot of the guys, who came off the Lions Tour last summer and a lot of competitive rugby this season, their bodies could do with a rest but there’s not much rugby left. This is the business end of the season and anybody that wants to win trophies want to be playing these big games.”