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Error-strewn day that Bowe will want to forget

By Michael Sadlier

Published 07/09/2015

Trying afternoon: Tommy Bowe looks on as Jonny May scores for England at Twickenham
Trying afternoon: Tommy Bowe looks on as Jonny May scores for England at Twickenham

Yes, the scoreboard somewhat flattered Ireland but, more pertinently, there does seem to be a growing sense of unease about the place now after back-to-back World Cup warm-up defeats and two rather off-key performances.

The most glaring concern - and, yes, of course we know it wasn't for real but, let's face it, Twickenham was the last hit-out and with a side pretty much at full strength - was Ireland's willingness to spring leaks defensively.

Unfortunately, Tommy Bowe has to stand up and be counted here. There had been some talk put about that he had been struggling to potentially make Joe Schmidt's 31-man squad and he did little to shake off that notion.

Jonny May's early try was a bit of a horror show for Bowe as his failure to halt his opposite number's charge created the line bust and Simon Zebo couldn't prevent the score.

And it didn't get a whole lot better from there. May's pace had the edge on the Monaghan man and he found himself drawn inside for the disallowed score when Tom Youngs threw an awful forward pass.

The kick-chase, normally a strength for Bowe, was also off the mark and his day was summed up by Mike Brown breaking past the 31-year-old late in the second half.

On this showing, Schmidt may lose what faith he had in the Ulster favourite which could be costly for Bowe when the serious stuff begins.

Elsewhere, Jared Payne also lasted the 80 minutes and, well, he too had a bit of mixed bag. There was some useful stuff such as helping Jamie Heaslip secure a turnover and a good tackle on Andre Watson.

But he also lost the ball when Jonathan Joseph ripped it off him and then found himself caught for Owen Farrell's second and final penalty.

And what of Rory Best?

His first start this side of the World Cup saw a rather embarrassing missed tackle on Brown - at he wasn't along at letting white shirts through him - while his ferocity at hitting a ruck after Heaslip's carry helped set up Paul O'Connell's try.

Best went off on the hour and will be better next time. As for replacements Chris Henry and Darren Cave, they both worked hard for their 20 minute cameos with Cave being used as a direct carrier and Henry, well, finding himself having to linger out on the wing.

Belfast Telegraph

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