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'We won't be going out with much caution, we'll go out to win' -- Tommy Bowe

The Ulster winger is ready to attack a rare Six Nations campaign, but not in a new way.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ALMOST THREE YEARS on from his last appearance in the Six Nations, Tommy Bowe is ready to rip into rugby’s grand old tournament again.

The prolific Ulster winger has endured more than his share of bad fortune since playing in the disheartening 30 – 9 defeat to England in 2012. After knee and hip injuries, he has come back to the green jersey in November and summer tours, but only for short bursts before the Six Nations slipped out of reach again.

He may protest about the strength in depth within this Ireland squad, but Bowe will return on Saturday to face Italy.

The Azzurri will be tough opponents, absolutely, and especially in Rome. As champions however, Ireland are a side who need fear nobody. So while all due respect will be offered to a side who are traditionally tough to take on first up, Bowe and Ireland will go to Rome intent on setting the tone.

“I don’t think we’ll be going out there with much caution,” Bowe said in Carton House today, we’ll be going out there to win.”

In the build-up to the tournament there have been suggestions from players and coaches that Ireland will change their style of play to a more open, attacking ethos. If that is indeed the plan for the back rowers and playmakers in the team, then the man who will be benefiting from a new-found width has been kept in the dark so far.

“I can’t see it being too much different to be honest. I think we’ve been very successful in what we’ve done over the last year or so and I can’t see there being huge changes. Small changes for different teams might be made during the campaign, but certainly at the minute it’s very much similar to what it was back in November.”

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Tommy Bowe Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ireland certainly weren’t lacking in attacking options when they faced Italy in the 46 – 7 win in Lansdowne Road. But for the most part, Joe Schmidt’s side won last year’s tournament playing a relatively simple and effective style with room to tailor the gameplan for each opponent. That, Bowe says, will be the case again:

Any away match, we’ll have plays and ideas of how we want to attack when we get into the opposition half. There’ll certainly be nothing negative about how we’re going to play but at the same time, away from home we’ll want to try and put the pressure on them and get the crowd on their backs.”

He added: “A good start in two respects, we obviously want to silence the crowd to not let them get their tails up but also a good start to the Six Nations, I think it’s all about building momentum in this competition so if we can get off to a good start, not let Italy into the game then hopefully play our type of rugby and if we can come away with a win then it will be a perfect start to defending the Six Nations.”

That would certainly make for a happy return.

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Sean Farrell

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