Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 6°C Friday 30 October 2020

Against Habana, you have to expect him to attempt an intercept -- Bowe on Leinster heartbreak

The Ulster wing is fond of turning defence in to seven points himself, so here’s how he viewed the decisive score in Sunday’s semi-final.

FOR MOST WINGERS, the intercept try is surely the most satisfying of scores.

Bryan Habana Source: James Crombie/INPHO

They get to show their handling skills to take in a ball not intended for them. They have the chance to show off their top speed, which can be rare in a congested playing field. And, most importantly, they get the gratitude of their pack for saving them the battle of getting back to halfway.

bowe scarlets

It’s a risk, but look at Tommy Bowe’s face when he’s on the way to scoring against Scarlets for Ospreys above, a seven-pointer is well worth it.

Bowe has plenty of intercepts that show his ability to read when playmakers are under pressure and trying to force the issue. But when it comes to poachers, Bryan Habana still sets the standard.

Source: Rugby Hits Media/YouTube

Bowe has a great deal of sympathy for Ian Madigan who threw the skip pass that was picked off and settled the Champions Cup semi-final, but adds:

“When you’re playing against Bryan Habana, you gotta expect him. He goes in for them all the time.

“But if you rewind it back and watch how far back he comes from: he’s a good 15-20 metres [from] Mads when he has the ball in his hands. And I think it was just a small delay that gave him the opportunity to see the pass was coming and nip in and take it.”

Source: mptms123/YouTube

The Ulster wing points out that teams tend to be more susceptible to interceptions late on in games — as was the case with his 2011 near miss against Australia in Auckland (above) — so despite Toulon being down to 14 men, the ’90′ on the clock will have put the Springbok on the scent.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Ian Madigan tries a long pass which was intercepted for a try by Bryan Habana Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Leinster were starting to throw the ball about a bit at that stage. You could see that. Bryan started from the outside, he just knew the pass was coming.

“Now it’s one of those that could easily have just lobbed over his head, but the two guys were on the drift and it was just perfect for him to nip in and snatch it.

“It’s a lovely feeling when you’re a winger and you manage to grasp one of those. When the whole team’s looking at you after it’s sailed over your head and you’re trying to reach it, that’s the hard side.

“Credit to Bryan Habana, he’s done it his whole career and he really has got a knack for it.”

Source: MottiRugby/YouTube

Bowe calls Leinster’s defeat ‘heartbreak stuff’, but will be intent on punishing any loose flat or forward passes thrown his way this Friday night when Leinster visit Kingspan Stadium.

“You have to feel for Leinster. They were fantastic at the weekend, really put it to Toulon.

“And for Mads, throwing that pass is a position that nobody wants to be in, but I know the character that Mads has: he’s a confident guy and he’ll bounce right back from it.

Bryan Habana breaks free to score a try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Listen, it’s an excellent bit of finishing and poaching play from Bryan Habana. That’s what was needed to finish the game off.”

Tommy Bowe was speaking at the launch of Subway’s #TrainWithTommy competition. For information on how win a training session with the Ulster, Ireland and Lions wing visit their Facebook page here or find them on Twitter @SubwayUKIreland

Analysis: Was Sean O’Brien justified in calling Armitage ‘completely illegal’?

Australia have made a major change to their policy on selecting overseas-based players

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next: