Belfast Telegraph

Depleted Ulster can conjure up Euro magic, says Bowe

By Michael Sadlier

Tommy Bowe has called on injury-hit Ulster to dig out a special performance tomorrow night at the Kingspan Stadium to keep their European season alive.

Ulster host Toulouse in the first of their back-to-back matches with the French club and Les Kiss' squad must aim to register their first win in Pool One after losing 27-9 at home to Saracens last month.

"If we can pull out a big performance I think we are going to be right back in it again," said Bowe (pictured) who is recuperating after suffering a serious knee injury playing for Ireland in their World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina.

"It only takes one big performance to really turn things around again.

"We are going to be really relying on the next two weeks in regards to our European ambitions and if we win back-to-back over the next fortnight - and it's not going to be easy - then we are right back in the frame.

"I don't know whether the rain is going to be coming down but I'm sure that Toulouse would like to be somewhere else rather than playing at the Kingspan."

Regarding last week's injuries which have also taken Iain Henderson, Darren Cave, Dan Tuohy and Peter Nelson out of the equation, the 31-year-old Ireland and Lions star remains confident that Ulster's strength in depth will be sufficient to prevent their season from going off the rails.

With most attention being focused on Henderson's hamstring issue, and the likelihood that he will be out for the rest of the season, Bowe, who is still wearing a knee brace after undergoing surgery but is aiming to return to training in the New Year, is hopeful that the 23-year-old's ability to heal quickly may help bring him back before this campaign ends.

"He's got incredible healing power," Bowe added of the way Henderson bounced back so quickly from a finger injury picked up against Argentina.

"It wouldn't surprise me (if Henderson is back before the season's end) but I don't know what sort of surgery he is going to have to go for but, fingers crossed, it is not going to be too serious."

Meanwhile, Ulster's rearranged Champions Cup clash at Oyonnax will be played on Sunday, January 10 with a kick-off time of 1pm GMT and the Pool One match will be shown live on Sky Sports.

It was one of a number of games which were postponed due to last month's Paris terror attacks and Munster will now meet Stade Francais on January 9.

It was also confirmed yesterday that Ireland will take on Canada on November 12 in the opening Test of next autumn's Guinness Series, which completes the line-up of matches as the meetings with World Cup champions New Zealand and runners-up Australia had already been announced.

Tommy Bowe was speaking at a Kingspan-hosted media event in Dublin. Supporters can stay up to date with the latest Kingspan competitions and promotions at @KingspanStadium on Twitter.

Belfast Telegraph


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