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Thursday 8 December 2016

Tommy Bowe must aim to follow lead from Dave Kearney

Don’t write off Tommy Bowe yet, but Dave Kearney has earned his place on the wing
Don’t write off Tommy Bowe yet, but Dave Kearney has earned his place on the wing

Sometimes players can be too brave for their own good, too willing to test the boundaries of science.

There was a time when they were careless, or foolhardy, enough to bluff their way back to work when all had not healed.

When Dave Kearney was sidelined with a serious knee injury, he knew the World Cup was his main target.

The rupture of his season was worsened by the pain of rehabilitation and the knowledge that, while he wasn’t playing, he was losing ground to PRO12 League semi-finalist Tommy Bowe and Craig Gilroy and finalists Simon Zebo and Keith Earls.

He just had to rely on that mundane mantra of ‘controlling the controllables’ and working his way back into top condition.

This is where he found his edge on holidays across the sands of Portugal. The off-season gave him the hours to work on his conditioning when others were unwinding at the end of another long season.   

This could well turn out to be where Kearney won his place and Bowe (pictured) lost his.

In contrast, the Ulsterman has looked light years away from the consistent form that made him a two-time British & Irish Lion. 

The normally unflappable Bowe was unusually fragile against England. Could it be that Father Time is beginning to ring in his ears?

He could be handed a shirt with ‘reprieve’ written across the back of it as he tries to make a late charge against Romania on Sunday.

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