Tuesday 16 July 2019

Tommy Bowe: Ulster Rugby had to make changes

Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe

Michael Sadlier

Tommy Bowe has admitted that though he enjoyed working with coach Mark Anscombe, changes had to be made at Ulster.

As a senior player, Bowe's opinion was sought and freely given in the wake of Anscombe's sudden departure on Monday – which could end up costing Ulster more than £100,000 in compensation with the Kiwi having recently agreed to a contract extension.

"Changes maybe needed to be made," Bowe admitted, "and it's great that it's happened at the start of the season so we can get on with it now and look forward to an exciting season ahead.

"Ulster rugby have definitely gone forward over the last couple of years – but we want to be winning trophies, and as a player I want to be part of a winning team."

The Ulster, Ireland and Lions winger added: "We have had the team, and still have one that is capable of winning trophies.

"With a little bit of bad luck and mistakes, that hasn't happened."

Bowe certainly sounded a note of sympathy towards Anscombe but accepted that things can happen and change quickly in the professional game.

"I enjoyed working under Mark," said Bowe.

"He had a no-nonsense attitude to things, which I think is very good. A guy who comes in and tells the players straight what he thinks is what is needed in the professional game."

"Over the last couple of years he's been a breath of fresh air. It is unfortunate, I was looking forward to working with him again this year but I think it's just the way things have panned out."

Unsurprisingly, Bowe was full of praise for new interim head coach Les Kiss.

"With the experience he (Kiss) has and the rugby knowledge and the attention to detail that he brings, he will be a great man to take Ulster Rugby forward.

"I think he is a great appointment," said the two-times Lions tourist before turning his attention to David Humphreys' dramatic exit at the start of last month.

"David leaving was a shock to everyone," he admitted.

"He had transformed the team over the last few years and he had been a massive part of Ulster rugby for over 20 years.

"It's a shock that he's leaving but there's nothing you can do."

One man not in the reckoning for the Ulster coaching job is Simon Easterby, who is now expected to take over as Ireland's forwards coach as Joe Schmidt looks to replace John Plumtree, who has returned to New Zealand.

The 65-times-capped former Ireland international is understood to be close to agreeing a deal that would see him take up the role before the November Tests.

It is not known if Easterby will combine his new role with his current job as head coach of the Scarlets, but given Schmidt's other assistant taking up his temporary post with Ulster, it is likely he will want Easterby's undivided attention as preparations for next year's World Cup intensify.

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