International rugby returns this weekend when Ireland travel to Cardiff to take on Wales at a sold-out Millennium Stadium. The match will serve as a warm-up for the sides ahead of the Rugby World Cup and will give players on both teams the opportunity to make a claim for selection.
The Ulster Rugby website caught up with Ulster and Ireland winger Tommy Bowe to get an insight into how preparations are going ahead of the World Cup and get his thoughts on Ulster’s start to the new season.
“Training has been going well,” admitted Bowe. “Pre-season is a pretty tough time of the year. It has been challenging but I think the guys have been working really hard to get themselves to the level needed just ahead of a World Cup.
“It is always going to be tough with the competition for places. We know what it is at stake – to get ourselves on to that plane and to go to the World Cup it would be such a huge reward for us, so everyone is really pushing to get in the best place to be there.”
One thing that the Monaghan man is particularly pleased about is the return of Andrew Trimble to the international squad. He added: “It is great to see him back training. He had a difficult season last year through injury and it’s fantastic to see him back firing on all cylinders again.”
While Bowe’s focus is firmly on Ireland and the World Cup, he believes the coming weeks will be great for the younger members of the Ulster squad.
“It’s a great opportunity for guys who have been on the fringes in recent years to set up, to take chances, to put on the jersey and do it proud.
“Hopefully, we get a good representation in the Irish squad to go at the World Cup and when those players get back we will be in a strong position in the league because at Ulster we are hoping for big things this year.”