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Bowe: We’ll Have To Be At The Top Of Our Game

Bowe: We’ll Have To Be At The Top Of Our Game

Tommy Bowe looked on last March as Ireland clinched the RBS 6 Nations title in Paris. ‘A sofa in a mate’s house’ was his vantage point, screaming at the TV replaced calls among the back-line on the pitch. Nearly a year on and there is renewed excitement for the fit-again Monaghan man as he hopes to add to his haul of 28 Test tries.

Tommy Bowe had six carries for 22 metres during Ireland’s Championship opener against Italy last weekend and with a switch to outside centre in the second half, he did not get as much ball as he would have liked to.

Despite the game playing out exactly how Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt called it beforehand, with Ireland not breaking down the Italians until after the break, was there any frustration for Bowe with the 26-3 win?

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“Yes and no, I suppose. The game-plan, Joe could have been happy in some respects with it, but I think there were opportunities we let go of. There were times…I’ll never be happy not to touch the ball, I always want to be a part of it and I want to get the ball in my hands and to threaten,” he said.

“Personally, it was a good team performance to come away with a 26-3 victory, but there’s still a huge amount that we can improve on and look to gain momentum going forward now into the competition.

“It was one of those games where I chased a lot of kicks and competed in that area of the pitch when the ball was going from the attacking side of things, it didn’t come to my side too often. That’s the way these games go unfortunately. This weekend (against France), if I’m involved, I’ll hopefully get more ball.”

Bowe agreed with kicking coach Richie Murphy’s comments that there is a lot more to come from this Irish squad, with the back-line, including new centres Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne, just finding their feet and they will only improve with game-time under their belts.

France started Teddy Thomas and Yoann Huget on the wings in their first round triumph over Scotland and they are two players that Ireland’s third top try scorer rates highly.

“That’s something that Joe doesn’t let go, he feels we should be at the peak of our powers in the first game, never mind the last one. It’s something that we’ve had to look at and try to improve on,” added Bowe.

“You always want work-ons going into it and what a massive match we have against the French. Against the talent and the players that they have, we’ll have to be at the top of our game.

“The one thing about them (Thomas and Huget) is at times you think you have them contained, you think you have them on the back foot and a little bit of brilliance or a bouncing ball, they just seem to pick up on small mistakes. You have to be on top of your game all the time, you really can’t switch off and that’s going to be a massive threat for us this weekend.”

Thomas is a club-mate of Jonathan Sexton’s at Racing Metro 92, with the latter set to return for Ireland from his 12-week concussion lay-off. Sexton is looking fresh in training and ready for the challenge, according to Bowe.

“Thomas looks a pretty classy player alright. Johnny’s played with him and talked about him. We’ll look at him, we’ll look at the threats they have – Wesley Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud playing fantastically well and a whole rake of other players.

“They really do have some outstanding individuals so we have to be on top of our game. The French seem to travel quite well in the Six Nations. We won’t be expecting any easy ride.

“The way Johnny has trained, he’s been fully involved in training this week. He looks very sharp. It’s been kind of a mini pre-season for him, he’s been able to get some fitness work done.

“I think he’ll be looking fresh. He’s hugely excited about it, I’m sure. I suppose time will tell how long his lungs go, but the sort of athlete Johnny is, it hasn’t seemed to bother him in the past.”