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5253 IRISH TATLER MAN
Heroics against France in
the recent Rugby World Cup
were followed by an agonising
defeat to Argentina and a
knee injury that required
surgery, but Tommy Bowe
remains as upbeat as ever.
The Ireland and Ulster winger
talks to Aaron Rogan about
the heartbreak of yet another
how players need to switch
off from the relentless
pressure and why his younger
teammates should heed his
advice on upping their style
game off the pitch
Tommy Bowe scores Ireland’s first try
during the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Pool D match against Romania at
Wembley Stadium on September 27, 2015
Bowe is consoled by Martin Landajo of Argentina as
he is transported off the field after picking up an
injury during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter-
Final match against Argentina at the Millennium
Stadium, Cardiff, on October 18, 2015
Tommy Bowe’s World Cup came to a “She’s delighted to have me home now I’m sure; I’m away for the guts
screeching halt an hour earlier than most of three months and then I come back and can’t even get up off the
of his teammates and it’ll be at least couch,” Bowe jokes.
another six months before the 31-year-old
can shake off the hangover on a rugby pitch While his teammates, bar the other walking wounded, have been
The Ireland and Lions winger – who has won 67 caps and scored 30 Test getting to grips with their club schedules again, Bowe has had plenty of
tries – was stretchered off just 12 minutes into the 43-20 humbling by time to ruminate on Ireland’s World Cup.
Argentina and the recovery time from his knee injury [it was revealed he
had suffered posterior cruciate ligament and meniscal injuries to his right “The excitement was building all summer but we couldn’t enjoy that
knee] is estimated to be, at best, six months, but could be as long as nine. until the final squad was announced. The intensity of 45 men fighting for
“After the intensity of those weeks at the Rugby World Cup, it takes 31 places is draining. There’s a huge amount at stake for 11 weeks,” he says.
you back to reality pretty quickly when you’re at home and you need to
be waited and served on. I can’t even get up to make something to eat,” Once the Ireland and Ulster winger did get the nod, he says everything
he says from his couch in Emyvale, Co Monaghan. was going perfectly, until it didn’t.
The person doing the waiting is Lucy Whitehouse, his wife and a former
Miss Wales – who is, perhaps even more luckily for Bowe, also a nurse. “Everything was going to plan up until the French match, and even
that game went brilliantly. The atmosphere, everything about that day
↖ Tommy wears XV Kings Avoca Beach was just incredible.
crew-neck jumper, €59.99, and
Gosford zip-up jacket, €79.99 “Cardiff is like no other city for rugby – the bus drives right through
the streets full of people. It was like everyone in Ireland had come over
5455 IRISH TATLER MAN that weekend; it gave us a real sense of pride and that was before we got
into the stadium with the roof closed. That was like a cauldron of
atmosphere – as soon as you step out onto the pitch you’re pumping.
“We gave it our all and to get the [24-9] win was fantastic but to pick
up those injuries and to lose Sean O’Brien to suspension was the
opposite of going to plan. That was a body blow to the team,” he says.
Bowe has lost in the last two Rugby World Cup quarter-finals now and,
as one of the team’s most experienced players, he knew more than anyone
on the pitch against Argentina how brutal cup rugby can be. He believes
that Ireland’s squad was strong enough to absorb a lot of casualties but
the culmination of the experience lost ultimately proved too much.
“In pure rugby terms, losing Paul O’Connell is not as tough when you
have a specimen like Iain Henderson coming in – we’ll see that going
forward – but when the heat comes on in cup matches, Paul and Jonny
Sexton offer an abundance of crunch match experience.
“That experience counts for extra men in big matches but we lost key
decision-makers and it hurt us,” Bowe says. But he admits he finds no
comfort in the explanation.
“We should have won that game, I still think that. Argentina blew us
away and I’m not sure what Jonny, Paul and Sean could have done
differently because we were really caught on the hop.”
↖ Tommy wears XV Kings
Cavaliers jumper, €59.99
GOING TO PLAN UP
UNTIL THE FRENCH
MATCH, AND EVEN
THAT GAME WENT
THAT DAY WAS JUST
↖ Tommy wears XV Kings Eastwood
sleeveless puffa, €69.99, and
Lloyd&Pryce McMahon shoes, €79.99
↘ Tommy wears XV Kings Dunedin
button-down shirt, €59.99, Woy
Woy navy blazer, €99.99, and
Lloyd&Pryce Gilroy boots, €99.99
WE SHOULD HAVE Photographer: Kenny Whittle
WON THAT GAME, Photographer’s Assistant: Cillian Whittle
I STILL THINK Hair: Emmett Byrne @ The Butcher Barber
THAT. ARGENTINA Location: D-Lite Studios
BLEW US AWAY... Props: Industry, 41 A/B Drury St., Dublin 2, industrydesign.ie
REALLY CAUGHT “Having something other than rugby is important. When things
ON THE HOP
aren’t going well, it’s tough if you don’t have something to take your
mind off of it. Also it’s a very short career, so if you can play to your
Bowe pulled on the green jersey for the first time in 2004, when he
was just 20. He missed out on the 2007 World Cup but he says that mid-30s, you’re doing very well.
Ireland’s current young players will learn more from losing on the big
stage than watching from the sidelines. “We make very good money but we can’t just hang up our boots and
“You watch how the replacement players push on in the next year or walk away; we have to look to the future from a business point of view or
two. I’ve been in the last two quarter-finals and it is heartbreaking – the
younger lads will be feeling that. even just something to keep your mind active. It’s no life for a man in his
“Robbie Henshaw, Ian Madigan and a whole host of them will be mid-30s to have nothing in front of him.”
feeling like their world has been torn asunder, but in four years’ time
they’ll be there again and they won’t want it to happen again,” Bowe says. The winger has also been coming to grips with his replacement as the
As a senior player, albeit a fresh-faced one, in the squad, Bowe heartthrob of the national set-up by Ian Madigan. The weeping fly-half
mentions how his role changed for this World Cup. He says that rather
than being the one to force the younger players to concentrate and not with the side parting won a lot of hearts over the tournament.
get distracted by the media attention and long hours in the team hotels,
he had to work on the opposite. “Oh, did he now, I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear that… again,” says
“Rugby can get very serious nowadays – the level of intensity in Bowe, laughing. “I’ll tell you, he was walking around the hotels with the
training and the work we do off the pitch between video analysis, gym
work, physios, looking at your own play. It can bog your mind, so it’s hair flopped to the side, he looked so proud of it that I got a fright when
important to switch off and I think we need to get that balance.
he came in with it shaved off. It was his pure pride and joy but I’ve no
“It’s actually now as a senior player that you have to show that there’s
room for relaxation and fun as well,” he says. doubt that he’s prepping the poor head for the next hairstyle.”
Bowe, who recently received his postgraduate diploma in Business With his own highly successful fashion range, XV Kings – which he is
Management from Hibernia College and the University of London,
believes the professionalism of rugby has ramped up in the last five years wearing for the ITM shoot – coupled with regular men’s shoe collections
to the point where a lot of younger players need to be reminded how
short a career it can be. So while the diversity of outside interests ranges with Lloyd&Pryce, Bowe is perhaps best placed to give advice to the
from Sean O’Brien’s farming and the Kearney brothers’ co-ownership of
a pub to Bowe’s own XV Kings menswear collection, he says it is vital younger players on the perils of following trends blindly. His own range
that players don’t look to the future before it’s too late.
is a simple all-American casual style of attire, which, although a strong
5657 IRISH TATLER MAN
seller across the country, is perhaps a little staid for some of his younger
“A couple of the young lads are coming in pieces that won’t be
making the next XV Kings lines, I’ll tell you that much. Robbie Henshaw
seems to be confused if his gear is to fit in in Athlone or New York – he’s
copying a few of Simon Zebo’s riskier outfits.
“I’d like to have a final say when there’s a disagreement over some of
the lads’ shoes, but they don’t tend to
Tommy Bowe’s new XV Kings listen to me. They tell me I’m too old but
collection and his AW15 shoe I’m not so sure about that,” he laughs.
collection for Lloyd&Pryce are “They should listen, then they can come
available in stores nationwide as back in a few years and thank me.” ITM
well as online at xvkings.com and