Tributes are being paid to Ireland and Ulster winger Tommy Bowe, who yesterday announced he will retire at the end of the season.
Bowe, who has earned 69 caps for Ireland and played for the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and 2013, is likely to be out for another seven weeks with a shoulder injury sustained against Leinster earlier this month.
"I’ve been fortunate to have played with Tommy for a very long time and we have shared some incredible times together in Ulster, Ireland and Lions jerseys.
"In my opinion, his qualities as a player are exceeded only by his qualities as a person. He is a genuine, honest, humble guy, and I have the utmost respect for him.
"Tommy is a key member of our leadership group at Ulster and he has continually led the way in terms of driving our standards on and off the pitch.
"He is the ultimate professional and he is the perfect example for any aspiring young player to follow.
"I’m sure Tommy would like nothing more than to finish this season on a high and that’s what we, as a collective, are aiming to do. "
Outstanding career from this poet. Great team mate and as much a player for the hard track as for the trenches! Was a pleasure & honour to wear Green (and red on occasion) with you Tommy! https://t.co/KANO2Kob6J— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) January 16, 2018
"Tommy has been a class act both on and off the pitch. He has been a great ambassador for Irish Rugby and played a key role in the Grand Slam of 2009 and the Six Nations Championship of 2015.
"He’s inspired many of the people around him and entertained crowds for over a decade."
Not a bad old career infairness 😂👀👀🎯
One of the best to ever do it💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/mVKNjP4uDZ— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) January 15, 2018
"Tommy’s achievements with Ulster, Ospreys, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions are widely known, but his on-pitch accomplishments tell only half of the story.
"For me, Tommy represents everything that is good about rugby. He is a man of great integrity and he is respected throughout the rugby world as both a player and as a person.
"Tommy is a superb ambassador for Ulster Rugby, having done so much to promote our work in the community and to inspire future generations of rugby players from across the nine counties.
"I’d like to thank Tommy for his contribution thus far, and I look forward to seeing him back in action soon and contributing to a successful final season with Ulster."
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Tommy and I have shared so many brilliant memories together over the years, with both Ulster and Ireland.
The Grand Slam in 2009 is something that I will cherish forever and his contribution to that success was immense.
He has consistently produced on the biggest stages and that was perhaps most apparent in his appearances for the British & Irish Lions.
For Ulster, Tommy has been an absolutely outstanding servant. He has been one of the go-to players in the team since his debut back in 2004, scoring tries and playing well on a consistent basis.
His tremendous leadership attributes have been a massive help to the playing group, while he has selflessly mentored some of the younger players in our system. He has fought back from a number of long-term injuries, particularly in recent seasons, and that is testament to his strength of character.
Tommy is a pleasure to work with and he’ll be missed next year, for sure.
However, we have a big few months ahead and I know that he will be focused on making those as successful as possible.
Legend on and off the field Tommy. Enjoy the rest of the season and your next steps— Bernard Jackman (@bernardjackman) January 15, 2018
- Digital desk