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Bowe happy to chase the kicks as part of Schmidt's Ireland masterplan

The 30-year-old lost his grandmother last week and says the win over France was ‘special’.

Tommy Bowe is the new Cadbury ambassador.
Tommy Bowe is the new Cadbury ambassador.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IT’S DIFFICULT TO break down the image of Tommy Bowe as Mr. Nice Guy.

As various Ireland internationals make use of a four-day break from the intensity of Joe Schmidt’s camp, commercial engagements are par for the course. It’s no surprise Bowe is as in-demand as ever; his face is one the brands love.

The Ulster wing was at the Aviva Stadium yesterday as the main draw to the announcement of Cadbury’s partnership with the IRFU, and he was as affable, collected, and willing to answer questions as ever.

He even opened up about the death of his grandmother last week, a sad event that made Ireland’s win over France all the more “special.”

Now 30 years of age, Bowe is a mature communicator, never one to give too much away, but without being dismissive.

It was just a bit of rest, just the workload over the last couple of weeks, they just wanted to give me a bit of time off my feet,” explains Bowe of having sat out Ireland’s training session in Galway on Wednesday.

“Obviously having come back from the groin injury, the excessive load, certainly the speed and intensity of the training sessions, in the past I’ve struggled with it so they just thought ‘better to have a bit of precaution.’”

It’s smart physical management from Schmidt and his medical staff, but that rest also points to Bowe’s importance to this Ireland team.

His performance on the right wing against France last weekend was one of high quality, even if there wasn’t much in the way of chances to run freely with ball in hand. Such is life for wings in Schmidt’s Ireland set up; kick chasing and pressure in the air are core skills.

Tommy Bowe Bowe did lots of this last weekend. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“To be part of a winning team, you’d be happy to do whatever,” points out Bowe. “I got a bit of ball in the autumn and I was happy with that.

“The first two games of this campaign, yeah, I suppose I’ve had to do other areas of the back three job that are very important and certainly areas Joe likes to concentrate a lot on.

“As back three players, his wingers have to be able to play 13 and have to be able to play 15, have to be good in the air, good at competing for the ball.

Certainly in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to do a lot of that but against a team like the French and the Italians, they’re big up front, big strong men. Maybe putting the ball behind them and turning them, putting on that pressure and trying to force turnovers.”

The Emyvale native, with his rich GAA heritage, says that aerial competition is an area he prides himself on, crediting out-half Johnny Sexton for his accuracy of kicking on the notably successful Ireland restarts.

Bowe’s delivery of a selfless and physical performance was partly inspired by the passing away of his grandmother, Breda Bowe. The Ireland wing says she was in her 90s and will be fondly remembered by all at Ulster.

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“She passed away at the start of last week, so it was quite special [playing against France]. On my first cap in Ulster – she’s still quite well known in Ulster for tuning up with her blankets over her and her hot toddy. People still talk about her.

“She was a big supporter of me and I think it was nice to get that victory for my family, for my dad. I think playing in the Irish jersey is not just about you on the pitch; it’s about the people and that Irish pride. Yeah, it was a nice one to win.”

Tommy Bowe Bowe sat out Ireland's training session with Connacht on Wednesday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Given his 58 international caps, Bowe is an experienced and proven member of this Ireland squad, and as such has become more of a leader. That’s largely about his actions, but the calmly-spoken Monaghan man admits he addresses the squad when required.

“I wouldn’t say I’m quiet,” says Bowe when asked how involved he is in the build-up to Ireland’s games. “I don’t really tend to have to speak. I don’t feel the need to have to talk when it is not needed. When I need to say something, I’ll say it.”

Captain Paul O’Connell recently stated that Ireland’s dressing room has become a quieter place than in years past, pointing to players being more consumed by the constant demands for the details within their roles to be 100% accurate.

However, Bowe says he hasn’t seen a major change behind the scenes, even if the head-butting, frothing-at-the-mouth image of rugby changing rooms has long been nothing more than a myth.

A long time ago there would have been a lot of people shouting and roaring,” explains Bowe, “now players approach games differently. A lot of players just sit with their ear phones in going over their own things and getting into their own rhythm before matches.

“There is other players who like to shout and roar. I suppose when you had the likes of Brian [O'Driscoll] there, Ronan O’Gara there, Paul O’Connell there, they were all very inspirational speakers and maybe spoke up.

“There is now the likes of Rory Best, Johnny Sexton, Paul O’Connell, Jamie Heaslip, these guys would speak up a lot still.”

– First published 06.00

Cadbury Boost was unveiled by Tommy Bowe as the official chocolate bar of the IRFU and sponsor of Touch Rugby at today’s launch in the Aviva Stadium.

To celebrate the sponsorship, Cadbury Boost is offering fans a chance to win a pair of tickets to watch Ireland take on England on Sunday, 1st March. To win just log on to the Cadbury Ireland Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cadburyireland.

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