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Tommy Bowe in line for France comeback as he trains with Ireland

Winger Andrew Trimble remarks that his Ulster teammates were mocking him as Bowe scored two tries on his comeback.

Tommy Bowe Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

DESPITE HIDING BEHIND a post for several minutes this morning, Tommy Bowe was conspicuous by his presence at the Irish training session.

The Ulster winger was not named in Joe Schmidt’s 33-man squad for the Italy game but was called out to Maynooth, along with hooker Richardt Strauss, to train with the players set to feature on Saturday. The Ireland coach explained Bowe was out as cover for the squad but also got himself up to speed with changes that may have taken place since his last cap, against New Zealand, in November.

Bowe scored two tries against France on his last appearance in Paris and is in contention for a recall ahead of what could be a Six Nations decider against Philippe Saint-André’s men.

Schmidt said, “If we get into trouble, it is good to get Tommy involved. He obviously had the three Tests in November. It was good to get him up to speed again. He had no ill effects from the training with us. He did have a few days off because he tightened a bit in the Ulster game.

On the basis of that, we certainly want to keep him involved in the wider group. If, next Monday, we feel we need Tommy to add some more value or to cover someone who might be in doubt then it is great that we had him in here today.”

“I thought he trained well,” Schmidt added, “and it certainly looked like he was stretching his legs. There were no ill effects afterwards and that is often the telling point, whether he tightens up afterwards but he moved really well. He really enjoyed getting back in, working and thoroughly enjoyed getting back for Ulster last Friday. To have him back on the pitch, and the two tries he got, was great for Ulster. He’s a quality player.”

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Tommy Bowe runs in his first try of the night 28/2/2014 Bowe looked in good nick on his Ulster return last weekend. Source: Darren Kidd/Presseye.com

Bowe’s provincial teammate Andrew Trimble was up in Ravenhill on Friday and witnessed the winger’s two-try return against Dragons. Trimble will need another decent Six Nations outing this weekend if he hopes to retain his spot on the right wing. He told TheScore.ie:

I was watching the Ulster game in the team room on Friday night and got a hard time, with lads saying ‘Good while it lasted’. Obviously I’m a good mate of Tommy so it was great to see him back in there. I was not so delighted to see him scoring two tries in 30 minutes. I thought he would’ve been tempted to stay out there and get the hat-trick.

“From my point of view, I know I’m playing this weekend so all I can do is go out there and try to put in a big performance. It’s no surprise to me that there is competition for places.

“There’s a good few guys [Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald] injured but whenever everybody is fit there’s 7, 8 top quality wingers. To be in the top two you have to be playing out of your skin. If I can look after that we’ll see what happens.”

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