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Joe Schmidt Explains Why Tommy Bowe Was Selected Ahead Of Others

Joe Schmidt Explains Why Tommy Bowe Was Selected Ahead Of Others
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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The only change made to Joe Schmidt's matchday 23 for Friday night's encounter with Wales in Cardiff, from the one which defeated France, was an enforced one.

Andrew Trimble fractured a bone in his hand during Ulster's win against Treviso at the weekend and has been ruled out of Ireland's final two Six Nations games.

As a result, Trimble's Ulster teammate Tommy Bowe will take a place on the bench. Trimble would almost certainly have reprised the bench role he had against the French were it not for the injury.

At today's team announcement, Joe Schmidt explained why he had chosen Bowe over other options such as Craig Gilroy, Andrew Conway and Tiernan O'Halloran.


Bowe came off the bench in Ireland's opening game defeat against Scotland.

Tommy has trained really well. He's trained the house down.

His last couple of games for Ulster have been incrementally improving. Some of the things we've asked of him, we're seeing in what he's doing.

It's tough because Craig Gilroy has also been doing really well. So has Andrew Conway.

Schmidt believes Bowe has strengths suited to the challenge which Wales will bring.

Strangely, he also highlighted Bowe's experience of playing with Ospreys - five years ago - as a factor in his decision.


In the context of what we feel Wales will bring, Tommy is so strong in the air.

His experience as well, having played with a lot of these players in his time with the Ospreys, we just felt it was a good decision in this context.

Jared Payne recently returned to action for Ulster following recovery from a kidney injury which he sustained against Australia in the November internationals.


There was speculation at the 31-year-old could come into the starting line-up in place of Garry Ringrose. The New Zealand-born back's defensive organisation abilities are certainly valued by the Ireland head coach.

However, Schmidt said Payne, though he had looked sharp in training, had not spent sufficient time in camp with Ireland.

He was sharp this morning when he trained. That put him in the frame. He just didn't have enough time with us.

I think for his confidence, he'll be involved this weekend with Ulster. It will potentially be a springboard for him to be involved against Ulster next week.

Robbie and Garry had a really good relationship and were building on that. Sometimes, selection might be swayed because of the cohesion of the current combination. At the same time, Jared and Robbie had played a lot together as well.

You've got to keep your rhythm in this competition.

See Also: Wales Name Team To Face Ireland On Friday Night

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