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It's mission accomplished when I can fly myself home -- winger Bowe

TOMMY Bowe may be best known for his rugby skills, but his ultimate ambition is to fly from Wales to Ireland.

The Ospreys winger (26) is studying for his pilot's licence in Swansea where is based, and revealed his main desire would be to fly himself home.

Despite the fact that he is mainly based in Wales, his home base is always on the brain, and he hopes to fly back to Ireland when he gets his licence, saying "that would be job done, mission accomplished".

The rugby star said that flying was his much needed "distraction" from the sport.

"It's a great hobby and a brilliant way of taking my mind off everything else. Some days it's a real challenge and things might not go well, I might not nail the landing for example, but it's something I enjoy," he said.

"As a professional rugby player, I think it's important to have a distraction and for me personally, I need that."

"The last thing I need is rugby, rugby, rugby, all the time. With the amount of training we do, it's important to have down time.

"If it's been a bad match and you can't take your mind off it, that can keep you down for the whole week so it's good to have a distraction to get your mind away from the training ground and rugby. It's just healthy."


And while he has only been hopping in the pilot's seat for roughly a year, he has experienced his fair share of hiccups along the way.

The Monaghan native revealed that he was shocked the first time he did an emergency landing.

"I'd never been up there when the propellers had gone so I thought we were in big trouble, but it showed me the capabilities of the plane," he said.

"You always have to keep an eye out for potential places to land when you're flying along and then you have to judge it as if you're freefalling and gliding in. You have to be very controlled and it's a great feeling when you land."

The Irish international legend also revealed his upset at being cut from the World Cup 2007 team, and the pain of being snubbed "still sticks" with him.

"Not playing in a World Cup has always been one of my biggest regrets," he admitted. "Even though missing out turned out to be a positive, a good thing, the regret and disappointment I had after not being picked in the squad still sticks with me.

"For any international rugby player, the World Cup is the pinnacle, it's the biggest rugby spectacle that there is and there would be something wrong with me if I didn't want to be a part of it.

"I want to go there and be competitive."