Tommy Bowe: Ireland’s Try-Scoring Machine

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His form over the last 12 months has marked his as one of international rugby's dangermen, can he keep it going until the Lions tour in 2013?

It is fair to say things are going well for Tommy Bowe just now. The Irishman is in a rich vein of try scoring form for both the Ospreys and Ireland and has just secured a deal that will see him move back to Ulster for the start of the 2012/13 season. Although this move has been influenced by both the salary cap being imposed on Welsh clubs and the IRFU’s new tighter quotas on overseas players it is also a transfer that makes a lot of sense for Bowe and his career.

At the age of 28, Tommy Bowe will be conscious that the British & Irish Lions tour in 2013 will perhaps be his last opportunity in the famous red jersey. Having represented the Lions in all three tests in 2009 he made no secret of the fact that it was a career highlight. High praise from a player who has represented Ireland at two World Cups and won a Grand Slam in 2009 whilst amassing 48 caps since his international debut in 2005. By playing regularly for an Irish district he knows he can further cement his place in the Ireland team, which he has consistently held since 2008, and push on towards a place on the plane to Australia next summer. Few would argue against a Lions selection for Bowe, especially if he can maintain his current blistering form.

This season has seen him come off the back of a World Cup in which he scored two tries in four games for Ireland and then excelling for the Ospreys with five tries in thirteen games. It is however, in the 2012 Six Nations tournament that Bowe has really shone. A try in the corner against Wales in opening game was followed by two against Italy and another brace against France, including one particularly impressive kick-chase solo effort. He is now fast closing in on Dennis Hickey’s second place spot in Irelands overall try scoring charts and sits behind Brian O’Driscoll in the Irish scoring list for the Six Nations.

While these are impressive statistics, what they don’t take into account is the all-round skillset of Tommy Bowe. Reliable under a high ball, solid in the tackle and, when called upon, a ferocious counter-rucker, Bowe contributes more than just tries to a team. An effervescent personality in the dressing room, he exudes cheeky charm and a positive attitude which rubs off on teammates making him a very popular squad member. If Tommy Bowe continues popping up in the right place at the right time his popularity will also continue to soar with his club supporters, the Irish fans and ultimately Lions fans too.