Tommy Bowe: Playing experiences shape how I approach media role, says former Ireland wing

Bowe gathers
Bowe helped Ireland to a memorable Grand Slam in 2009

Former Ulster and Ireland wing Tommy Bowe says his experiences as a player have shaped how he approaches his current job in the media.

Bowe began presenting Pro14 TV coverage at the start of the 2018-19 season having retired four months earlier.

"As a former player, I think I can see when something is said just to be sensational, and when something is said as constructive criticism," Bowe said.

"I try to put it out there, that the players know they've made mistakes."

As a player Bowe made 69 international appearances and twice toured with the British and Irish Lions in an extinguished career before moving into the media.

Speaking in an interview with Sportsound Extra Time, which will be broadcast in full on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday evening, Bowe said that being able to delve into the mindset of a player helps mould how he approaches discussing the game live on air.

"The players are well used to the scrutiny and the criticism," he said.

"They go into a meeting every Monday after a match and the coaches will tear them apart if they've made a mistake, so they know when they have made one.

"I try to be wary of it but I do realise now that I'm on the media side of it, that people want to get to know the players, they want to know that they're human.

"And now I see when we try to do interviews with players, sometimes they play it with a straight bat and I can see now in my years when I played a straight bat how frustrating it could be."

'I don't think they will cancel the season'

With all rugby currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is no certainty that it will be safe for the sport to return in time to conclude the 2019-20 season.

The Pro14 have already cancelled the final set for 20 June in Cardiff, and have formed a new plan which will only be implemented if a number of public health and logistical criteria are met, allowing competition to resume.

Bowe remains optimistic that we will have a finale to the season, but warns that it might involve rugby being played in the summer months, traditionally the Pro14's off-season.

Kingspan Stadium
Pro14 stadiums have been empty for over a month as coronavirus has stopped play

"The players are hoping to get back into training and maybe playing by the end of April but really looking at the way it is at the minute, it's hard to see it," he said.

"I don't think that they will wipe the season out.

"I think if we can get over the worst of it by the end of April and then coming towards the end of May, I'd like to think we could have four weeks of rugby in June.

"A lot of players' contracts will be up at the end of June, so every match really has to be played by then.

"If we can have rugby in June then we might see a play-off between the top four from both conferences and play that into a quarter, a semi and a final.

"There is such a backlog of games, it would just be great to have a final to cap off the season and then move on to next year."