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Tommy Bowe out to banish Ireland World Cup heartache

By Jonathan Bradley

Tommy Bowe is determined to avoid yet more quarter-final heartache when Ireland take on Argentina at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Ireland have fallen at this particular hurdle in five of the past seven World Cups and Bowe was part of the squad who missed out on a last-four spot four years ago following a loss to Wales.

The 31-year-old has previously spoken of how that reverse was one of the toughest moments of his career and he is in no mood to endure similar suffering at the hands of the Pumas this weekend.

"We were full of confidence going into that Welsh match," he recalled. "I don't think we were complacent, I don't think we were thinking too much about the semi-final, but something was off and they were the better team.

"It's still a tough one to take so for players who are still in the squad, who were part of that, we can't make that mistake again.

"It's a knockout stage of the competition again and you don't get a second chance.

"It is about taking our chances when they come and I think we have enough players in this squad who have been there that know how to turn up for these big games."

Two players new to the pressures of knockout rugby on the international stage, however, are Bowe's Ulster team-mates Iain Henderson and Chris Henry.

The pair will both start in coach Joe Schmidt's pack and Bowe has no doubt that they are ready.

"Hendy has shown throughout this tournament what a world-class player he is," said the Monaghan man.

"He's been fantastic so far this campaign and we have seen with Ulster and Ireland over the last year and a half how promising he is.

"There is no doubt that Hendy is someone everyone will be delighted to see in the starting lime-up.

"Chris has proven at this level that he is a top-class openside and this is a fantastic opportunity for him.

"He has been so excited about getting involved in this whole World Cup and it doesn't get much better.

"Of course, going into such a big game as this having big changes, you don't want to make too many.

"Some of them have been forced, but I think to show the strength in depth - which is something we've talked about right through the whole campaign - it just shows that we're in a great place in calling players to come in for such a big game and really not see a huge difference."

One place where that depth is especially evident is the back-three and it is important to remember that Bowe began this World Cup outside of the starting line-up.

Having missed out entirely against Canada, he was given his chance against Romania and, having scored two tries, has been back in the No.14 jersey ever since.

"I'm feeling good, feeling confident," he said. "It's the biggest competition you can play in as a player, I feel confident in the way I'm playing at the minute but I think that I've still a lot more to give.

"These sorts of games are the ones where I'd love to be able to pull out a big performance to push us on.

"This weekend would be a good opportunity for me."

An opportunity he has prepared for by fancy dress shopping with Paddy Jackson?

A picture of the pair dressed as superheroes appeared on the two-time Lion's Instagram account on Thursday.

"That was just a one-off, we were just in the shop and saw some Avengers gear and thought for the craic we'd try it on," he explained.

"When you're stuck in Cardiff there is only so much shopping you can do so you try and mix it up a little bit.

"I don't know if I'm too keen on Captain America. I think Paddy was looking for a Spiderman outfit."

The serious business is being saved for tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph


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