The big second row's international career appeared to be all but over when Joe Schmidt cut him loose from the Ireland squad that would travel to Japan for the World Cup but he starts for the first time in six months for his country on Sunday against England in Twickenham.
Andy Farrell insisted continuity in Ireland team selection would not come at the expense of creativity as he kept changes to a minimum for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations second-round visit of Wales to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
As shakedown games go, this one ended up being a little more shaky than Ireland might have expected. The final score said 19-12 to Ireland but that didn’t really tell the story of the game so much as gesture vaguely in the direction of the side that took their chances with more efficiency, writes
For all the elements that make up this brave new world for Andy Farrell and the Ireland team as they head into the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, it is one of the fundamental lessons from the disappointments of 2019 that will register the strongest on matchday one.
Tommy Bowe scored 30 tries in 69 appearances for Ireland so how excited is he by the back three that starts on Saturday, what does he expect to see from Mike Catt’s attack as the Guinness Six Nations progresses and how does he feel about that Croke Park loss to the Scots ten years ago?