Bowe wary of unpredictable Wales
March 11, 2011
Bowe finds reason to smile during Ireland's Captain's Run at the Millennium Stadium © Getty Images
Ireland winger Tommy Bowe has urged his team-mates not to confuse Wales' unpredictability with indifference.
Wales have proved devastating in short bursts during this year's Six Nations but have undermined their flashes of brilliance with errors and questionable decision making. But Bowe, who has been offered an insight into the Welsh psyche since joining the Ospreys in 2008, insists that if Warren Gatland's men get it right, Ireland will face a frantic afternoon at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
"Warren is trying to get them away from that wishy-washy perception," he said. "The type of gameplan they play, they work opposition teams very hard. They are very, very physical up front and they really try to take the opposition on.
"Wishy-washy could be confused with the flair they have as well - sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't. Whenever it doesn't come off, it might look as if they are uninterested, but when it does, they can set the place alight. Of course we've had the same stick at the Ospreys. It's frustrating for a player as we want the passes to stick as much as anybody, but we want to be playing exciting rugby as well."
Eight of Bowe's Ospreys team-mates will line-up for Wales tomorrow, among them winger Shane Williams. The Welsh speedster has crossed for 53 tries during 79 caps and is closing in on Japan's Daisuke Ohata and Australia's David Campese at the top of the all-time scoring list. Having been given the task of shackling his Lions colleague in Cardiff tomorrow, Bowe admits he is the worst possible opponent for a winger standing 6'3" tall.
"Wales' style of play suits him," said the 27-year-old, whose own strike rate is 16 tries in 38 Test appearances. "He's able to get himself into position, he knows where the ball is going to be and he's one of these players who shows up in the right place at the right time.
"His scoring record for Wales is absolutely incredible and he's always on the shoulder of people making breaks. It's instinctive. For a small man, he has to make up with other aspects of his game, he has to vary it. He's not one of these guys who is going to truck it up!
"He's the type of winger who tall wingers hate coming up against. He's so nimble you don't whether he's going to go to the side of you, under your legs or what's going to happen. As a character he's a lovely fella. For one of the poster boys of Welsh rugby, he's a quiet fella, very humble and a good squad man."
Bowe admits both sides are under pressure to perform and having missed the start of the competition with a knee injury, knows what that means for Wales. "It was only a few weeks ago when I was injured that I got to see how bananas Wales does go," he said. "The day of an international in Cardiff, pretty much the whole country turns up, whether in the Millennium or around the pubs.
"It's a pretty manic place and I think it's a great place to play a match. There's a huge amount of pressure on them, but there is a huge amount of pressure on us as well. They haven't been having a good game at the Millennium, but having come away with two wins in the last two games, they'll be a new team.
"They'll be feeling very confident and looking for a scalp against us this weekend. I have a fairly good relationship with the Welsh supporters because of being at the Ospreys. Mind you, they all seem to think I came over in a caravan. I don't know where that has come from, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding maybe! I get on very well with them. They definitely have a respect for me and I have a respect for them, too."
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