On every Lions tour, you are looking for a player to rise above himself, to produce rugby of a standard beyond that which he has previously achieved. With his powerful surges through the midfield, his subtle handling and his sharp finishing, Irish winger Tommy Bowe has done just that. Shortly before the tour, The Rugby Blog asked him a few questions. On the eve of his Lions Test debut, here is the interview in full.
What is the general feeling at The Ospreys towards Cardiff Blues after their successful season?
To be honest we’ve been putting all of our energy and concentration into our own season. We’re aware of how the other Welsh clubs are performing and there’s always an element of rivalry, we’ll always want to beat them, but if we take our eye off our own performance, that’s when we’ll make mistakes by losing focus.
What kind of reception did you get back at The Osprey’s after the Six Nations finale?
The lads ensured I came back with my feet on the ground by ignoring me for the first few hours of training on my first day back! I got a bit of stick, especially from the guys who had seen me singing on You Tube, but to be honest because we were straight back into training, we were back to normal pretty quickly.
In the future, if you were to go back to playing in Ireland, which province would you prefer to play with and why?
I don’t think about it at the moment. I’m enjoying my time at Ospreys and have found it easy to settle in because of the lads and staff at the club. I obviously also love playing for my country and enjoy joining up with the national squad. I take each day as it comes and try not to think too far ahead.
Who have been the biggest influences on your career to date?
Probably my dad. He’s always been very supportive of my career and given me advice when I’ve needed it.
What would you do if you weren’t a professional rugby player?
I’d be stuck if I wasn’t a professional rugby player! Ha ha! Maybe I’d use my degree (Construction & Engineering), maybe I’d be back packing around the world. I don’t really know.
Who is the best player you have played with and against?
I’ve played against some of the best players in the world with Ireland, Ulster and the Ospreys so I’m pretty lucky. The game is extremely competitive at both club and country level so I’m always up against tough opponents.
Which player do you least like playing against?
I don’t think there is one.
What were you doing when you found out you’d been selected for the Lions Tour?
I was just at home with friends hoping for the call, trying to keep myself busy.
Who would you most like to room with on the Lions Tour?
I think it’d be good to room with players who I haven’t played with i.e. who aren’t Irish or from the Ospreys. I’m really looking forward to getting to know different people and just over the moon to be part of the tour. I intend to make the most of every moment – how could you not.
And who would you least like to room with?
Ha ha! I wouldn’t like to say in case I’m put with them. I’m pretty easy going so get on with most people! Diplomatic aren’t i!!
How would winning the Lions series compare to winning the Six Nations?
A few months ago I’d have said nothing would compare to winning the Six Nations, but being part of the Lions is the epitomy of any rugby players career – so being part of a winning test side would be pretty special.
Who do you regard as your biggest competition for a place on the starting Lions Test team?
There’ll be loads of competition as there have been some really strong players throughout the season. I think it’ll be quite tough to pick the wings as you’ve got Shane Williams who’s the best player in the world, Monye, Luke… it’ll be a tough call for the coaches and hopefully we’ll be making it an even tougher call by competing.
Particular thanks go to Puma for this interview and to Tommy Bowe for answering our questions. We wish him and the rest of the British and Irish Lions the very best in the test series against the Springboks.