It has been confirmed that Tommy Bowe has signed a new contract at Welsh region Neath-Swansea Ospreys, resisting the temptation to return home after a year in which he starred at for his club, as well as Ireland and the Lions.
Bowe played on the right wing throughout Ireland’s Grand Slam campaign, scoring the decisive try in the final match against Wales. He also enhanced his reputation during the Lions series in South Africa, starting all three Tests and scoring four tries during the tour.
His new contract will see the 25-year-old remain at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2012-13 season.
The Monaghan-born player, who has also lined out at centre and full-back for the Ospreys, was believed to be a target for all of the Irish provinces except Connacht.
Bowe's belief that the star-studded Ospreys, who have flattered to deceive at the business of the Heineken Cup in recent years, are on the cusp of achieving big things played a key role in his decision.
He said: ‘The Ospreys coaching staff, combined with the rugby programme in place here at the Ospreys, is helping me to fulfill my potential. In addition, as a team I feel we are on the cusp of something special and I want to be part of it. From an international perspective, the Ospreys have been the platform for much of the rugby success I have enjoyed, along with the memories I have banked over an unbelievable last 18 months, and as a result I feel a strong sense of loyalty to them.
Commenting on the reputed interest from Leinster, Munster and Ulster, as well as several Guinness Premiership sides, he added: ‘I was flattered by the interest from other European clubs, but after taking advice from my agent, family and friends, it all came back to the fact that I am enjoying my rugby and life in general at the Ospreys.
‘Obviously, a return to Ireland had a strong emotional pull and I take enormous pride in the privilege of wearing the Irish jersey. With a father from Munster and a mother from Leinster, who are season ticket holders at Ulster, and having played for Ulster with great friends there, you can imagine the thorough family discussions about the merits of returning to play in Ireland.’
Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley welcomed the announcement.
He said: ‘This is clearly excellent news for all concerned at the Ospreys, and is the perfect Christmas present. Tommy is a vital part of what we are trying to create here from a playing and a cultural point of view, and the fact that he has opted to extend his stay with us is a clear indication that he believes in what we are trying to do.
‘When we originally targeted Tommy as a potential signing, we felt that as well as him bringing his obvious strengths to the team, that we could also offer him the opportunity to develop his own game and his career. This has certainly rung true, Tommy and the Ospreys have complimented each other fantastically over the last year and a half, and we are very proud of his achievements on the international stage. The fact that he is a proven try scorer, can play in a number of positions and exhibits good leadership qualities are an obvious bonus to the team.’
‘His performances so far this season have shown that there is even more to come from him and we are delighted that we are now able to call on his services for an additional three years. He is a genuine world-class talent, who is much sought after and still very young. The fact that he has opted to stay in our environment for as long as he has committed to as he feels that it is the best place for him at this moment in time, is a great boost for the players, coaches, administrators and supporters alike.’