Incredible year for Bowe

Lions tourist Tommy Bowe admits he has enjoyed an 'incredible' 12 months at the top of the British and Irish game. [more]

Incredible year for Bowe

Lions tourist Tommy Bowe admits he has enjoyed an ‘incredible’ 12 months at the top of the British and Irish game.

Bowe moved from his native Ulster to the Ospreys a year ago and has since gone on to become a regular for region and country before establishing himself as one of the stars of the Lions’ recent 10-match tour of South Africa.

The 25-year-old has now returned to training ahead of the new season and he claims that the 2009/10 season will have to be something pretty special to challenge the heights of the last campaign.

"It’s been an incredible twelve months personally,” said Bowe, who was one of the Lions’ most consistent performers having helped Ireland secure their first Grand Slam in 61 years.

"The move from Ulster was a big gamble for me but it’s worked out better than I could ever have hoped.

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"Obviously, the Grand Slam with Ireland and the Lions tour are the standouts for me, not just for the season, but probably of my lifetime.

"Generations of Irish rugby players have dreamt of winning a Grand Slam, and so many supporters have willed it to happen every year, so to be able to be a part of that success was special. To start every game, is just unbelievable, a real honour.

"To then enjoy the Lions tour was a real bonus. When you think back to where I was when I arrived at the Ospreys 12 months ago, I couldn’t have dreamt that a year later, I would not only be selected the Lions tour but would start all three Tests. It’s just incredible.”

Bowe’s selection for his first Lions tour ultimately ensured last season was a particularly demanding one but  the Craigavon-born wing insists he is now looking forward to starting all over again as the Ospreys look to ensure they do not go another year without a trophy.

The big-spending Welsh region picked up the EDF Energy Cup before Bowe’s arrival in 2008 but failed to win any honours last time out and that is something their favourite Irishman is determined to rectify over the coming season.

"I’ve had a great five weeks off,” added Bowe.

"It’s good to get away and shut yourself off. It allows you to recharge the batteries and get your focus and enthusiasm back for the new season.

"I’ve just had a very long season, and with the British & Irish Lions coming at the end of it, there were boys coming back to the Ospreys for pre-season when we hadn’t even finished the last one. That shows what a long year it has been.

"After finishing the tour, it’s been good to just shut off for a few weeks and forget about rugby for a while. I’ve been to Las Vegas and New Orleans and I’ve really enjoyed my break.

"It’s now great to be back amongst the boys, the craic is already there and a few laughs help you to forget about the pain of pre-season and help to ease you back in to the swing of things.

"The only disappointment last season was the way that our season faded out at the Ospreys because we didn’t hit the standards that we expect of ourselves. Priority number one this time around has to be to put that right and make sure we reach the right standards consistently.

"A tough pre- season will get everyone in shape and we have to really show what we can do. Our supporters deserve success, they have backed us in numbers through everything last season and it would be great if we can reward them for that support by matching the expectation that there is on us.”

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