Tommy Bowe is looking forward to Ulster’s Champions Cup game in Clermont on Sunday with a very particular reason to seek the win which would keep Ulster in contention for the quarter-finals.
“After Saturday’s win in Belfast, it was the happiest I’ve been in a long time, the European games are the ones you really miss. After two years with injuries there has been a lot of hard work put in, and to be in a dressing room with that sort of atmosphere certainly made it seem all worthwhile,” said the Ireland and two-time Lions winger.
Bowe’s return to Ulster in 2012 from a four-year spell with the Ospreys has been littered with injuries, though he fought back to fitness and form to reclaim his Ireland place for the 2015 World Cup, only to pick up a serious knee injury.
“I’ve missed a lot of games, and there were times when you’re in the gym, looking at four walls and the knee isn’t great and you do wonder is this all worth it? But games like last weekend’s most definitely prove it’s worth all that rehab.
“When you’re injured you’re not great to live with, and quite honestly my wife Lucy and my parents were as happy as I was on Saturday with the way the team performed and that I played my part,”, said Bowe.
Back in the starting line-up for less than a month the 32-year-old delighted to be operating at full pace and to have had such a significant impact on the 39-32 home win over the French, plucking a cross-kick from Ruan Pienaar out of the air before cleverly off-loading to Iain Henderson for a crucial try.
“It would be nice to get the ball in my hands and get a few tries now that’ll come, maybe Hendi’ll repay the compliment in France on Sunday,” he jokes.
Bowe is confident he can force his way back into Ireland’s plans, but for the moment he is focused only on Ulster and the prolonging the European challenge.
“We’ve got to replicate the way we played last week, do our jobs in defence and in attack, play with real pace, and be wary of the threats of Fofana, Strettle and the other great players. But, to be back, winning games with Ulster, and to be fully fit, sharp and happy is already a victory of sorts,” said Bowe.
Sunday: Stade Marcel Michelin, 3.05pm
Referee: Matteo Liperini (Ita)
TV: Sky Sports 4
Betting: Ulster 7/2, Clermont 1/6, Draw 20/1
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