Tommy Bowe admits selection for a second British & Irish Lions tour will spur him on.
The Ulster and Ireland wing was named in Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad to tour Australia yesterday.
And having missed the Six Nations through injury, Bowe, who was so vital against South Africa in 2009, admits his Lions call is a major confidence booster.
“I saw in the paper, like everyone else, that Warren was giving some people a chance to come back but I knew the Six Nations was the real area to showcase what you got. I knew I had my work cut out,” said Bowe.
“But I’m delighted the coaches had the confidence to pick me. That gives me a real spur, a real urge to try and push myself on when I get on tour.”
Having suffered knee ligament damage that required surgery in December, a second consecutive Lions tour appeared out of reach.
But Bowe has scored two tries in three matches since returning to action in April has been thrilled with his return to form following such a lay off.
“I’m happy with how quickly I got up to speed because my fitness levels still needed a few more weeks but I just had to get back for the quarters, I felt, but probably could’ve done with another week or two under my belt,” added Bowe.
“At least I am getting match fitness now, we’ve a game this weekend, a semi-final the week after so hopefully I’ll get three more games under my belt before we tour. That would be perfect.”
But while Bowe was delighted with his own inclusion, his elation soon turned to agony for teammate Rory Best – one of several top-class players to narrowly miss out on selection.
“I’m absolutely devastated for Rory,” added Bowe.
“Everyone in Ulster and Ireland felt he had a really great shot of going on the tour. And he would be up there to get picked for the Test series. All of us up here really feel for him.”