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Joe Schmidt hits back at Shane Horgan in Bowe row


Tommy Bowe and (inset) Schmidt and Horgan

Tommy Bowe and (inset) Schmidt and Horgan

Tommy Bowe. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Tommy Bowe. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile


Tommy Bowe and (inset) Schmidt and Horgan

Joe Schmidt has rejected Shane Horgan's assertion that his selection of Tommy Bowe for the opening Six Nations fixture against Scotland was a "nostalgia call" after recalling the experienced winger to his match-day 23 for tomorrow's clash with Wales.

Bowe (33) won his 68rd cap off the bench at Murrayfield and afterwards ex-Leinster wing Horgan, who won a Heineken Cup with Schmidt in 2011, castigated the decision to include him.

"That looked like a nostalgia call," Horgan said. "He hasn't been playing well, I was very surprised that he was in the 23. Tommy just didn't look as if he was up to the pace of the game at all. He had a negative contribution."

Schmidt initially left Bowe out of his squad for rounds four and five of the Championship, but the two-time Lion was recalled on Sunday when Ulster team-mate Andrew Trimble was ruled out with a hand injury.

Having "trained the house down" according to the head coach, the winger has leap-frogged Craig Gilroy, Tiernan O'Halloran, Jared Payne and Andrew Conway to come into an otherwise unchanged match-day squad.

Read more: Analysis: Dominance of the ruck holds key for Ireland to unlock Wales

"Shane hasn't spent any time in our environment, he's never seen Tommy train," said Schmidt.

"I think it's a typically external opinion that is purely opinion-based. We try to base our decision on how a player is performing. I've coached Shane and there's probably been times when people have questioned my selecting him.

Read more: Schmidt: We can't afford to be 'stung' by another slow start

"There's always going to be people questioning selection. I feel that we're best placed; there's no way I'd say we get it right every time, because again, there's a human factor in coaching.

"I'm not sure whether, over the last three and a half-four years, how many nostalgic decisions I've made. But I can't really remember many.

"Tommy has trained really well. He's trained the house down.

Irish Independent