Belfast Telegraph

Ulster winger Tommy Bowe has a real craving for more title success after Six Nations win

By Jonathan Bradley

It was just five short weeks ago that Tommy Bowe was sat inside the bowels of Murrayfield Stadium, nervously watching on from afar as England chased the tries they needed to steal the Six Nations championship away from Ireland.

Alongside him that day, united in anxiety at first and then celebrating shoulder to shoulder on the Scottish turf, were many of the men he will come face to face with tonight when Leinster visit the Kingspan Stadium.

While the medal that hung from his neck was even more cherished having missed out on the 2014 triumph through injury, it is now silverware with his province that he craves and, over the next two games, it is his international colleagues standing in the way.

"It doesn't seem that long ago at all that we were celebrating the Six Nations," Bowe reflected at the launch of the 'SUBWAY Train With Tommy' competition.

"It was obviously excellent for Irish rugby and all the lads involved but for now everyone will be just looking to maximise what they can do for their provinces.

"It'll be good to catch up with all the lads afterwards but in the build-up and during the game it will certainly be with our provincial heads on and we'll be going fully at it.

"It's always exciting to be playing the top teams in the league and certainly that starts with Leinster. It's an enormous game obviously and an enormous couple of weeks ahead."

After facing Leinster tonight, and a one-week break for the Champions Cup final, Ulster welcome Munster to the Kingspan on May 9, with a superior points difference all that is currently keeping Anthony Foley's men in second place and ahead of their northern rivals.

The pair of inter-provincial derbies will go a long way to settling the battle for a top-two position, and the accompanying home semi-final, with Munster's easier schedule - they play Treviso this week and finish with the Dragons while Ulster wrap up against leaders Glasgow - meaning that Neil Doak's men must target a clean sweep.

Given their strong record at home - only back-to-back European champions Toulon have won there this season - the importance of hosting the last four tie is not lost on Bowe.

"Obviously we want to be in the play-offs most importantly but we would love to have a home semi-final as well," he says. "For us to give ourselves the best opportunity of doing that we need to win our next three games and that starts with Leinster.

"Of course Munster at home is the same. We'll have a full house at the Kingspan Stadium for both of them and they'll be tough matches."

With the final already set for Belfast, and all available tickets having been snapped up last week, Bowe and his team-mates are dreaming of ending their almost decade-long trophy drought on home soil come the final weekend of May.

"I think it'll be something else," said the 31-year-old Monaghan man.

"There's a real buzz around the final and rugby in general at the minute and it's something that we really want to keep going.

"To do that though, we know we need to win silverware.

"We want to be seen as a team that's won trophies and this year we've got a real opportunity to do that with the final being at home at the Kingspan."

While the season's concluding inter-pros are primarily a battle for PRO12 positions, September's World Cup looms large with many potential squad players set to go head to head.

Having played in the 2011 edition, won over 60 caps and appeared on two Lions tours, Bowe can look forward to the competition in expectation rather than hope but understands that the presence of Joe Schmidt's watchful eye is sure to add an extra spice.

"These are the sort of games that the coaches will be watching and they'll want to see the head to heads between those players who are vying for spots on the plane to the World Cup," Bowe admits.

"The opportunity is there for the players to go out and get one over on their opposite numbers.

"The World Cup will certainly be at the back of our minds but there's a lot of rugby to be played for our provinces before that."

Bowe and Ulster know if that is to include a PRO12 final, much will depend on tonight's encounter.

Tommy Bowe was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from the launch of the 'SUBWAY Train with Tommy' competition in Dublin. SUBWAY stores are giving FOUR lucky sports teams the chance to win a training session with SUBWAY Famous Fan Tommy Bowe and £730 worth of sports gear for their team. #TrainWithTommy is open to schools, local rugby teams and tag teams and is part of the SUBWAY brand's ongoing commitment to encourage people to take part in a healthier, more active lifestyle. Visit for details.

Belfast Telegraph

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