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Cowan facing uncertain future

Jimmy Cowan faces a "scary" uncertain three months to secure his top-flight rugby future.

The former All Blacks scrum-half will return to New Zealand after a fortnight of Barbarians and World XV duty - in a bid to play his way to a Super Rugby contract.

The 32-year-old has left Gloucester after two years at Kingsholm, and will now seek a stint in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship ITM Cup.

The 51-cap half-back admitted he still has no club lined up for next term, and will review his long-term plans at the end of August.

"I've got nothing on the immediate horizon," said Cowan, who will start for the Barbarians against the England XV at Twickenham on Sunday.

"I'll probably head home in late June, and I'm looking at playing some domestic stuff back home, the ITM Cup.

"So I'll play this game this weekend and the one the following week in Cape Town, come back to England, pack up and then head off.

"So I'll play some provincial stuff in New Zealand and see where that takes me.

"It's quite scary to be fair.

"It's all of a sudden hit me that my career's coming towards an end.

"I'm 32, I've had a pretty good run; I've played 14 years at the top.

"I still think I've got two good years left in me, but I won't make any concrete plans, we'll just see what the next three months hold.

"I'll see how I go about things there, and then see what happens."

Cowan achieved the rare feat of making 100 Southland appearances, 100 Highlanders bows and 50 international caps before joining Gloucester in 2012.

The 2011 World Cup-winner is itching to take on Cherry and Whites team-mate Dan Robson, who takes a seat on England's bench this weekend.

England's senior stars might be preparing for the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland on June 7, but Cowan is not expecting an easy ride against the side coached by Jon Callard.

"It's testament to what Dan has done in the last two years in the Gloucester jersey that he has moved onto England's radar," said Cowan.

"To see him within the England set-up now is fantastic: hopefully he can get on the field on Sunday and kick on from where he left off with Gloucester.

"He's been quality and if he gets a chance hopefully he can make a big impact too.

"That's a given that I'll keep the young boy honest if he comes into the mix and I go against him!

"The Barbarians is a unique experience for me, because it's something I've been longing to do.

"There are nine different nationalities, I've played with some of these boys in the past; it's great to be back alongside them again.

"There's so much tradition and heritage, and it's up to us to uphold that, go out and put on a real show and wear the jersey with pride this weekend.

"Of course everyone wants to beat England at Twickenham!

"It's great to have another chance to take on England at Twickenham, the home of rugby, and they have been pretty good of late.

"The first string might be out in New Zealand but there's some good boys there who want to climb that ladder and push for higher honours.

"So it should be an interesting challenge."


From Belfast Telegraph