Tommy Bowe

Tommy Bowe
Full name Thomas John Bowe
Date of birth (1984-02-22) 22 February 1984
Place of birth Emyvale, County Monaghan, Ireland
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 102 kg (16 st 1 lb) [1]
School Royal School, Armagh
University University of Ulster; University of London
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Wing, Centre
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Monaghan RFC
Belfast Harlequins
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
correct as of 5 September 2015.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2009, 2013
Ireland A
correct as of 18 October 2015.

Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe (born 22 February 1984) is an Irish rugby union player from County Monaghan, Ireland. He plays on the wing for the Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. In March 2012, after four years with Ospreys in Swansea, Wales, Bowe returned to Ulster for the 2012/13 season.


Early rugby and Gaelic careers

A former pupil of The Royal School, Armagh, Bowe was a schoolboy provincial full-back, only converting to wing whilst playing for Ireland U-21s. Bowe played Gaelic football from U10 level with Emyvale, his local GAA club and he also ran for the Glaslough Harriers and represented his local parish Donagh in the All-Ireland Community Games and went to Mosney with the Monaghan Relay team.

He represented Monaghan at U16 and Minor level. As well as playing Gaelic football, he also played rugby with Monaghan RFC at underage levels as well as representing his primary school team. He attended the University of Ulster, Jordanstown and played for the Queens University Belfast rugby team, earning a selection to the Ireland U20 Team before transferring to Belfast Harlequins. He subsequently was capped at U21 level and was named as the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) 'Young Player of the Year' in 2003.[2]

Club/provincial career

James Hook, Gavin Henson and Tommy Bowe playing for Ospreys

Bowe received a call-up to the Ulster squad at the end of the 2003–04 season, scoring on his debut against Connacht and soon made his name as an Ulster regular. He won the Guinness Ulster Rugby Personality of the Year Award at the Ulster Rugby Awards Dinner in May 2005.[3]

On 25 January 2008 he confirmed that he would leave Ulster at the end of the 2008 Celtic League season, to join the Ospreys on a two-year deal. In his first season with the Welsh club, he scored a club-record four European Cup tries in a match against Treviso,[4] as well as becoming the leading Magners League try-scorer, having scored the most tries in the league's history. In 2008, he won both the Ulster and Ireland Player of the Year awards.[5] In December 2009 it was announced that Bowe had signed a 3-year extension with the Ospreys, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2012/13 season.[6] He returned to Ulster at the start of the 2012/13 season on a 3-year deal. He scored 2 tries on his return for Ulster against Cardiff Blues and was instrumental in the province's league season, helping them to the Pro12 Final.

International career

Bowe made his senior international debut against the USA during the 2004 Autumn Internationals becoming the first player from County Monaghan to win an Ireland cap since the 1920s, marking his introduction to test rugby with a second half try. Bowe won further caps during Ireland's tour to Japan and their Autumn Internationals in 2005.

With that experience and an impressive run of form for Ulster in the Celtic League, he made the 22-man panel for Ireland's 2006 Six Nations opener against Italy, and went on to score a try in that game. After Ireland's poor first half against France in the following Championship match, Bowe was axed from the squad – prompting allegations of him being made a scapegoat by Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan.[7]

An injury-plagued latter part of 2006 precipitated a downturn in form, though a rejuvenated Bowe came back with 5 tries in 6 matches to earn his place in Ireland's 2007 Six Nations squad. He failed to make the Irish squad for the disappointing 2007 Rugby World Cup. Bowe earned himself a place in Ireland's original 2008 Six Nations squad after a very good season with Ulster.

He was overlooked for the Ireland match day squad to play Italy in the tournament's opening game, however, despite his form. He was again excluded from the squad the following week when Ireland were narrowly defeated by France in Paris, however on 19 February 2008 Bowe was named in the starting team at for the visit of Scotland to Croke Park, a match in which he scored two tries. He then played in the losses to Wales and England.

With his good form for the Ospreys continuing in 2008 Bowe retained his right-wing position for Ireland during the Autumn internationals, scoring the team's only try against Argentina. Bowe was then selected on the wing for the 2009 Six Nations opener against France in Dublin. Bowe impressed as Ireland claimed their first win over France in six years with 30–21 triumph. Their next game was against Italy. Despite a performance that was below par, Bowe scored a try as Ireland romped to a 38–9 win.

After wins against England and Scotland, Ireland took on Wales with a grand slam at stake. With Ireland trailing 6–0 at halftime they came out firing as Brian O'Driscoll scored to put them 7–6 up. Then, from a Ronan O'Gara chip, Bowe gathered and outpaced Ospreys teammate, Shane Williams to score under the posts for a try. Wales came back from 6–14 to go up 15–14 with six minutes remaining, but O'Gara slotted a last gasp drop goal to give Ireland the lead again. Wales had one more chance to snatch the game from Ireland with Jones having a penalty on halfway with the final kick of the ball. But Jones missed by a matter of inches and Ireland claimed a dramatic win and their first grand slam in 61 years.[8]

In February 2010 against England in the 2010 Six Nations Championship, he scored two tries including the clinching try with five minutes remaining in a 20–16 win at Twickenham.[9] In March 2010, Bowe was voted 2010 Six Nations Player of the Championship, gaining over 50% of the vote.[10]

Bowe continued to represent Ireland throughout 2010. He was selected in Ireland's squad for the 2011 Six Nations Championship, and scored the opening try of Ireland's demolition of a Grand-Slam chasing England on 19 March. He went to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, his first such tournament, and scored a try against the USA in Ireland's opening Pool C game. He was selected in the squad for the 2012 Six Nations Championship, during which he rediscovered his try-scoring ability. scoring 5 tries in Ireland's first three games, including braces against Italy and France.

British and Irish Lions

On 21 April 2009, Bowe was named as a member of the British and Irish Lions for the 2009 tour to South Africa.[11] He started in the first match on the tour, versus a Royal XV and, in this game, became the first try scorer of the 2009 tour. He then scored two tries against the Golden Lions which contributed to his selection for the test side. He wasn't included for the next two games before coming back for the match against Western Province where he scored his fourth try of the tour and set up another for Ugo Monye.

His form on the Tour was outstanding, winning him praise from the sporting media.[12] On 18 June 2009, Ian McGeechan named Bowe in his test side to face South Africa in Durban on 20 June where The Lions lost 26–21 . Bowe, although holding his own in defence, wasn't given any opportunities to run. He was again selected on the wing for the second test. The Lions lost 28–25 due to a last minute penalty by Morné Steyn to clinch the series for the Springboks. Bowe in this game had more opportunities to run and was dangerous in attack. Due to injuries to Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts, Bowe was selected at outside centre in a partnership with Riki Flutey. He came second behind Jamie Roberts for the Player of the Series award.

In April 2013 he was selected as a member of the 2013 British & Irish Lions squad to tour Australia.[13] While playing against the Queensland Reds, Bowe broke a bone in his hand, which threatened to end his Lions tour.[14] He managed to recover from the injury in time to be included the starting fifteen in the last two tests against Australia, taking the place from Alex Cuthbert who had replaced him whist he was injured, but was unable to score any points in the test series.

International tries

Tommy Bowe's International Tries[15]
Try Opposing Team City/Country Venue Competition Year
[1]  United States Dublin, Republic of Ireland Lansdowne Road Test Match 2004
[2]  Japan Osaka, Japan Nagai Stadium Test Match 2005
[3]  Italy Dublin, Republic of Ireland Lansdowne Road Six Nations 2006
[4–5]  Scotland Dublin, Republic of Ireland Croke Park Six Nations 2008
[6–7]  Canada Limerick, Republic of Ireland Thomond Park Test Match 2008
[8]  Argentina Dublin, Republic of Ireland Croke Park Test Match 2008
[9]  Italy Rome, Italy Stadio Flaminio Six Nations 2009
[10]  Wales Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium Six Nations 2009
[11]  Australia Dublin, Republic of Ireland Croke Park Test Match 2009
[12–13]  England London, England Twickenham Six Nations 2010
[14]  Scotland Dublin, Republic of Ireland Croke Park Six Nations 2010
[15]  New Zealand New Plymouth, New Zealand Yarrow Stadium Test Match 2010
[16]  South Africa Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Test Match 2010
[17]  England Dublin. Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Six Nations 2011
[18–19]  United States New Plymouth. New Zealand Yarrow Stadium World Cup 2011
[20]  Wales Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Six Nations 2012
[21–22]  Italy Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Six Nations 2012
[23–24]  France Saint Denis, France Stade de France Six Nations 2012
[25–26]  Argentina Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Test Match 2012
[27]  South Africa Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Test Match 2014
[28]  Australia Dublin, Republic of Ireland Aviva Stadium Test Match 2014
[29-30]  Romania London, England Wembley Stadium World Cup 2015


Non-rugby ventures

Bowe was guest chef in episode two of series seven of The Restaurant in 2010.[19] Bowe appeared on RTÉ's The Late Late Show on 21 May 2010 where he was quizzed on his version of the song "The Black Velvet Band" which he sang during Ireland's Grand Slam celebrations.[20] Bowe was the focus of an RTÉ documentary Tommy Bowe's Bodycheck, which examined what it takes to be a top professional rugby player.[21]

In 2014, Bowe added a clothing line XV kings to his earlier launched footwear brand Lloyd & Pryce.[22] He lent his name to the Tommy Bowe Challenge which was completed in both 2011 and 2012 to raise money for the Glaslough Harriers.[23]

Personal life

His father, Paul, won a Leinster Schools' Cup medal with Newbridge College on the 1970 team, captained by Mick Quinn and went on to win a cap for Leinster Schools. Ann, his mother, is a physiotherapist in County Monaghan who runs her own practice. Bowe's sister, Hannah, is an Ireland hockey international, and his younger brother, David, is a rugby player. The Bowe siblings' grandfather won a Military Cross in the D-Day Normandy Landings.[24][25]

Bowe married his fiancée, former Miss Wales Lucy Whitehouse, on 14 June 2015 at the Corran Resort and Spa in Carmarthenshire, Wales.[26][27][28][29][30]


  1. Archived 2 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "From Emyvale to International Rugby". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  3. Archived 20 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "Ospreys 68–8 Benetton Treviso". BBC Sport. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  5. Archived 25 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Tommy Bowe ignored Irish pressure to sign Ospreys deal". BBC News. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  7. "Bowe has a point to prove". RTÉ Sport. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  8. Roberts, Gareth (22 March 2009). "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  9. Standley, James (27 February 2010). "England 16–20 Ireland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  10. "Tommy Bowe named Player of the Six Nations". RTÉ Sport. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  11. "British & Irish Lions tour squad announced". British and Irish Lions. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  12. Evans, Ieuan (13 June 2009). "Tommy Bowe and Ugo Monye take Test initiative". Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  13. Paul Rees (30 April 2013). "Jonny Wilkinson turned down Lions chance, says Warren Gatland". London, UK: Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. "Lions down fired up Reds". ESPN. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  15. "Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - Statsguru - Player analysis - Tommy Bowe - Test matches". Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  16. "D'Arcy and Bowe win awards". BBC. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  17. "Bowe wins IRUPA Players' Player of the Year". RTÉ. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  18. "Bowe named Rugby Writers Player of Year". RTÉ Sport. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  19. "RTÉ Television - The Restaurant". 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  20. "Prospering outside the comfort zone". The Irish Times. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  21. "Tommy Bowe's Bodycheck". 21 February 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  22. "His teammates slag him, but Tommy Bowe's clothing range is a winner with the rugby heartthrobs!". 20 February 2015.
  23. Archived 15 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. "Kevin Myers: What the English have, as they showed last Saturday, is guts. But it is often witless guts". Irish Independent. 3 March 2010.
  25. "Tommy Bowe: Ready for takeoff". Irish Independent. 10 September 2011.
  26. "Tommy Bowe got married (and posed for photos with people's mams)". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  27. "Rugby hero Tommy Bowe weds Lucy Whitehouse in romantic Welsh ceremony". 15 June 2015.
  28. "A look inside rugby heartthrob Tommy Bowe's lavish Welsh wedding". 15 June 2015.
  29. "Tommy Bowe shares honeymoon pics from exotic private island". 27 June 2015.
  30. Gaffney, Caitriona (5 May 2011). "Bet you won't be kicking her into touch, Tommy! Irish rugby heart-throb Bowe scores a new girl... the bad news is, she's a Miss Wales". Daily Mail. London, UK. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
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