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Bowe and co impress boss

By Michael Sadlier

Published 17/08/2015

On the ball: Tommy Bowe wrestles with Greig Tonks of Scotland in the World Cup warm-up clash in Dublin
On the ball: Tommy Bowe wrestles with Greig Tonks of Scotland in the World Cup warm-up clash in Dublin

A bit of a mixed bag in the overall team performance was mirrored by that of Ulster's contingent with four starting the match and three - including late sub Paddy Jackson - being on the park at the end.

Of most interest were the games put together by Chris Henry and Tommy Bowe with the word being that both needed to put on a bit of a show for Joe Schmidt.

Henry may have been feeling the heat somewhat until Tommy O'Donnell's fractured hip ended his World Cup hopes but Saturday required a decent body of work being put together by the Ulsterman. And, on the whole, he did so.

Ireland's first try saw Henry break off the back of a lineout and truck the ball up to help launch an attack that swung right and left before he got on the ball again and smashed over the line.

He continued his work - he ended up as top tackler - offering support to Sean O'Brien at the breakdown, but will not be too pleased at flying out of the line for an attempted and failed intercept in the lead-up to Scotland's second try.

Henry did though manage a strong carry which ultimately resulted in Sean Cronin's score and stayed on for the full 80 minutes.

Bowe showed his worth by collecting some of Ian Madigan's high kicks and getting the ball in his hands though he would doubtless have loved to have been on the end of the out-half's stunning cross-kick for Luke Fitzgerald.

The Ulsterman should have done enough to dispel any doubters despite being substituted around the hour mark.

Elsewhere, Jared Payne had a low key game with a few half-breaks sprinkled alongside what ended up as a mostly defensive outing.

He still looks to be Schmidt's first choice at outside centre and will surely be sharper next time he is required which is likely to be alongside Six Nations partner Robbie Henshaw.

As for Dan Tuohy, the second row knew that his chances of making the final 31-man squad would require a huge game full of work-rate and endeavour.

Unfortunately it didn't happen.

Tuohy certainly wasn't alone but he was one of a number of players who fell off tackles at critical moments before being subbed.

He missed Ryan Grant and the net result was Henry Pyrgos' try. It was too high-profile in an environment where Donnacha Ryan looks odds-on to make the cut with Iain Henderson also in the mix to cover lock.

Jackson also got on but far too late to make any impact.

Belfast Telegraph

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