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Tommy Bowe: 'live TV is like running out in front of 80,000' Bowe with co-presenter Karen Koster


Tommy Bowe with co-presenter Karen Koster

Tommy Bowe with co-presenter Karen Koster

Tommy Bowe with co-presenter Karen Koster

Tommy Bowe has said fronting a live television morning show on Virgin Media gives him a similar kick to playing international rugby.

The retired Ireland and Ulster winger (36) hung up his boots on his rugby career in 2018 to turn his attention to new challenges.

He has been co-presenting on Ireland AM for the past four months and said he's been busy "nerding-up" on his current affairs knowledge as a result.

Bowe, who's based in Belfast with wife Lucy and their children Emma (2) and 10-month-old Jamie, said many former players struggle to find a new career they feel passionate about.

"It's really something to run out in front of 80,000 people in Twickenham or the Aviva. You know you have all those eyeballs on you and you know it's live on television," he told the Herald.

"But I do still get the same kick and that little bit of adrenalin rush when I see the red light come on the camera first thing in the morning and you're waking everybody up and saying hello.


"So whenever you retire from rugby it's very hard to find where you get your kicks from any more. Where do you get your adrenalin?

"So many guys I know who I played alongside, they're working in an office and they don't find the same enjoyment as playing rugby.

"It's hard to compete with running out in the Aviva, but I definitely think that live TV ticks a huge amount of those boxes. I know I'm so lucky."

Given that rugby players earn a fraction of the money that Premier League soccer players take home, continuing to work after they retire is essential, he said.

"If you're someone who's fully engrossed in the game of rugby and suddenly it stops, through injury, it is like you're dropped off the edge of a cliff.

"It is retirement in your 20s or early 30s and you have to get your head around that.

"You're at the top of your game and you can't do it any more and you now have to try and find a new career. Will you ever get to the level of the standard you were at?

"So it is really difficult. The majority of the guys have to go into business and go and work in a bank or an insurance company or sell medical devices. It is a real shock to the system."

He also admitted he's made plenty of bloopers since starting out, but said people seem to relate to him for that reason.


"I'm never going to be the most polished television presenter - that's just not the way I am," he said.

"I am a little bit more relaxed and I try to be myself."

Meanwhile, Virgin Media has unveiled its new spring schedule, with some major changes to its website.

Its player will feature plenty of free-to-air shows such as The Pembrokeshire Murders and the second series of The Bay as well as the new Love Island USA.

The Tonight Show, fronted by Matt Cooper and Ciara Doherty (pictured left), will go from three nights a week to four, while Ivan Yates has a new entertainment sports show starting this week.

For sports fans, Virgin Media has the rights to screen every game in the Six Nations, alongside the Champions Cup, the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League.

In March, Virgin Media is to screen the much-awaited Finding Jack Charlton, which was filmed during the last 18 months of the former Republic of Ireland manager's life. He passed away last July at the age of 85.