SIX NATIONS: Ulster’s Bowe answers Ireland’s call

Tommy Bowe
 training with the Ireland squad ahead of Friday's Six Nations clash with Wales.
Tommy Bowe training with the Ireland squad ahead of Friday's Six Nations clash with Wales.
  • Six Nations: Wales v Ireland (Friday, 8.05pm)

British Lions winger, Tommy Bowe, could be the man to get Ireland over the line against Wales in their penultimate RBS Six Nations championship match in Wales tomorrow night.

The 33-year-old Ulsterman was a surprise inclusion on the bench by Joe Schmidt yesterday in his matchday squad announcement, Bowe being the only change to the panel that defeated France two weeks ago.

Tommy Bowe

Tommy Bowe

Seven days after having not even been included in the extended panel for the last two rounds of the championship, Bowe has found himself set to get some game time.

Bowe was called up on Sunday after fellow Ulsterman and winger Andrew Trimble was ruled out with a hand injury that required surgery.

READ MORE: Injury blow as Andrew Trimble sidelined after hand operation

And although another Ulsterman, Craig Gilroy, had scored three tries in the record-breaking win in Italy a month ago, Bowe got the nod to be involved in the Welsh clash.

A win in Cardiff would set-up a Six Nations title showdown against England in Dublin on Saturday week (March 18).

On Bowe’s selection, head coach Schmidt said: “Tommy has trained really well, he’s trained the house down.

“I think his last couple of games for Ulster had been incrementally improving.

“And some of the things we’ve asked of him, we’ve seen in what he’s doing.

“It’s tough because Craig Gilroy has also been doing really well, and so has Andrew Conway.

“But also I think in the context of what we think Wales will bring, Tommy is so strong in the air, that his experience as well, having played with a lot of these players in his time with the Ospreys, that we just felt it was probably a good decision in this context.”

Meanwhile, although Jared Payne trained fully yesterday, he had not been involved enough to make a return in the green jersey having been out since November.

MORE: Jared Payne fails to be fit in time for Ireland’s clash against Wales