British & Irish Lions winger, Tommy Bowe, is hoping he can state his case for a return to the Ireland squad for the middle of the Six Nations by impressing with Ulster in next week’s RaboDirect PRO12 home game against his former club, Ospreys.
The Irish winger has been left somewhat frustrated over the last two months as he gets back to fitness with a groin muscle tear.
His last match was with Ireland against New Zealand at the end of November when the men in green almost created history by beating the All Blacks for the first time - only to lose to a last gasp converted try.
Ireland start their Six Nations campaign on Sunday in Dublin against Scotland and then welcome pre-tournament favourites Wales to the Aviva Stadium six days later.
There is a one week break before Ireland travel to play England and Bowe is hoping by that stage he can be back in contention.
Ulster have two PRO12 games before Ireland face England -starting with Ospreys on February 7, and it is the perfect opportunity for Bowe to state his case to coach Joe Schmidt - provided he has no occurrence of the injury.
“It is frustrating,” said Bowe. “I broke a bone in my finger with the Lions and was back playing within a couple of weeks. But this is different and I have to make sure I am right.”