ULSTER WING TOMMY Bowe has admitted that changes were needed at the province as they look to turn near-misses into trophies in the coming seasons.
Head coach Mark Anscombe was relieved of his duties on Monday, despite having a year left on his contract. That followed the surprise departure of Director of Rugby David Humphreys to Gloucester in early June.
While Bowe points out that he did appreciate certain aspects of the Kiwi’s coaching manner, the failure to secure silverware with a strong playing squad meant Ulster needed to make a change.
“I enjoyed Mark,” Bowe told the BBC. “As a coach, he came in and had a very no-nonsense approach to things, which I think is very good for a coach. A guy who comes in and tells the players straight what he thinks is what is needed in the professional set-up.”
In the last couple of years he’s been a breath of fresh air. It is unfortunate to see him go. I was looking forward to working with him again this year but I think it’s just the way things have panned out.”
“Changes maybe needed to be made, and they have done. It’s great that it’s happened at the start of the season, so we can get on with it and look forward to an exciting season ahead.”
Bowe agrees that Anscombe did help the province to progress, but stresses the fact that the trophy cabinet at Ravenhill remained untouched during Anscombe’s two seasons in charge.
“Ulster rugby has definitely gone forward in the last couple of years, but we want to win trophies. As a player, I want to be part of a winning team. I think that we have had the team here, we have the team here that can go and win trophies.
“We haven’t the last two years, we’ve been very close over the last three years. Unfortunately, maybe with a little bit of bad luck and maybe a few mistakes, that hasn’t happened.
“For us to go forward and win things, I think changes might have to be made.”
The Monaghan man went on to share his excitement at the appointment of Ireland defence coach Les Kiss as Ulster’s interim Director of Rugby. CEO Shane Logan will not rush into securing full-time replacement for Humphreys and Anscombe, but Bowe is pleased to be working under Kiss for the foreseeable future.
Having somebody like Les Kiss, with the experience he has, the rugby knowledge and the attention to detail that he brings, is something that I think and other players who know Les, think will be he a great man to take rugby in Ulster forward.”
“I think that it’s certainly for the short-term at the minute. There’s obviously a World Cup coming up this year [sic] and he’s involved with Ireland at the moment. Whatever happens, I’m not too sure,” continues Bowe.
“But in the short-term, and the long-term to be honest with you, I think he’s a great appointment. Whenever I heard his name mentioned, it certainly got me very excited.
Watch the BBC’s interview with Tommy Bowe on the Ulster situation here.