Ospreys star Tommy Bowe has been given a timely boost ahead of tomorrow night’s Play-Off semi-final after he was crowned IRUPA Player of the Year by his fellow Irish players.
The in-form wing was given the accolade less than 24 hours before being named in the Ospreys starting line up for the Liberty Stadium showdown with Glasgow Warriors.
Bowe has been in superb form this season, cementing his reputation as one of the leading wingers in world rugby and it was no surprise to see him pick up the award for the second time in three seasons.
Having returned from the 2009 Lions tour as one of Britain and Ireland’s most consistent performers, the 26-year-old has gone on to enhance his standing with a series of outstanding displays for club and country.
The former Ulster flyer has been a regular in the Ospreys’ Magners League campaign, missing only four of their 18 fixtures to date.
An impressive record of a try every other game this term has taken his overall Magners League tally to 38, ensuring he remains the leading try scorer in Celtic League history.
But Bowe isn’t content to revel in his own personal accolades. He wants team success in the form of a Magners League glory.
"I’m absolutely thrilled," said Bowe, who will face plenty of Ireland colleagues if the Ospreys reach the Grand Final as their opponents will be either Leinster or Munster.
"It’s great to be recognised by the other players, especially when you’re playing overseas.
"We want to end the season on a high – we want to win the Grand Final – and if the fans are behind us for this we can do it, but Glasgow are a really good side.
"We are well aware of their record and the great results they’ve had recently, like the hammering they gave Leinster a couple of weeks back and their bonus point at the Scarlets.
"We’re at home which will give us an advantage. We just need to make sure that we use that advantage.
"It’ll make a huge difference if we can run out to a big, loud, passionate crowd. Make no mistake, the supporters will have a massive part to play."
Leinster trio John Fogarty, Jamie Heaslip and Girvan Dempsey also received recognition, with Fogarty collecting the Unsung Hero Award, Heaslip claiming the Supporters’ Player of the Year and Dempsey being inducted into the IRUPA Hall of Fame.
Other winners on the night were Connacht’s Fionn Carr, who was named Young Player of the Year and Ulster’s Andrew Trimble who picked up the Try of the Year for his effort against Bath in the Heineken Cup.