Tommy Bowe signs new deal with IRFU
Ireland and Ulster winger agrees three-year contract with union
Ireland’s Tommy Bowe celebrates scoring his try against South Africa. Photograph: PA Wire
The Ireland international, who spent four seasons with the Ospreys in Wales before returning to Ravenhill in 2012, has put pen to paper on a three-year contract.
The 30-year-old Monaghan man, a former minor intercounty footballer, has won 55 Ireland caps, the most recent of which saw him secure the win over the Springboks last Saturday with Ireland’s second try.
That try was his 27th for his country while he has crossed the whitewas 48 times for Ulster in 124 appearances.
Bowe’s deal comes just two days after fullback Rob Kearney committed his long-term future to Leinster. Johnny Sexton’s decision to return to Leinster next summer after two years in France was the first big victory in Ireland’s battle to keep top stars on home soil.
Kearney and now Bowe completing quickfire new deals without fuss further boosts boss Joe Schmidt’s long-range preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Performance director David Nucifora has exerted pivotal influence over the IRFU’s new policy of fuss-free contract negotiations. Last season the likes of Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip came extremely close to shipping out to France, only to sign new Leinster and IRFU deals at the 11th hour.
Since former Wallabies front-rower Nucifora’s arrival however, the IRFU has resolved to take a new approach to keeping top stars in the provincial system. Sexton’s impending return from Racing Metro underscored that shift, with Kearney and Bowe quickly following suit in tying up new deals.
Ulster underwent widespread off-field changes in the summer, with coaches David Humphreys and Mark Anscombe both departing Ravenhill. British and Irish Lions wing Bowe committing to a long-term new deal proves a welcome endorsement for head coach Neil Doak’s reign, with Les Kiss poised to become Ulster’s full-time rugby director after next year’s World Cup.
“I am delighted to have signed a new contract with the IRFU and Ulster,” Bowe said this morning. “It is an exciting time for both the province and the national team and I hope to play a part in achieving success on both fronts in the years to come.”
IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora added: “We are delighted that Tommy has committed his future to Ulster and Ireland for the next three years. Tommy has proven his value to Irish rugby over the years with stand-out performances for both Ulster and Ireland.”