Bowe targets southern glory to prove Irish World Cup credentials
Tommy Bowe reckons Ireland must claim southern hemisphere glory this month to prove their 2011 World Cup credentials.
Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks, while it is 31 years and counting since their last away triumph was recorded over the Wallabies.
The 26-year-old, who has been rested for the showdown against the Barbarians at Thomond Park tomorrow, has thrown down the gauntlet to his team-mates ahead of the three-Test tour, insisting only wins will be good enough as the countdown to the World Cup continues.
"We have to make sure we play well and get some results on the tour looking ahead to the World Cup in 16 months' time," said Bowe. "We were happy last autumn with the Australia draw after coming from behind and it was also great to beat the world champions South Africa.
"But, realistically, if we want to be considered as serious World Cup contenders, we have to pick up some wins away from home this summer."
Bowe has starred for both club and country this season and capped off a fine campaign with the opening try in the Ospreys' 17-12 Magners League Grand Final triumph over Leinster last weekend.
But the Player of the Year in both Ireland and Wales, who also scooped the 2010 Six Nations accolade, has brushed off any thoughts of joining regional colleague Shane Williams by adding the World Player of the Year crown to his impressive CV.
"That would be the pinnacle of anyone's career," he said. "Shane was a deserved winner of the title in 2008 but you only have to look at the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, who hasn't won it. That shows I am a long way off at the moment but of course it is something that anyone would want to achieve."
Bowe's touchdown at the RDS was the 19th of a memorable season. Not content with a successful Lions tour last summer, Bowe enhanced his reputation as a clinical finisher by smashing Williams' try-scoring record for the Ospreys in a season by six. But the popular Monaghan man insists there is plenty more to come.
"I'd like to think I have more to offer," he said. "I feel I am still learning and being at the Ospreys is really bringing the best out of me."