Ospreys coach Sean Holley has hailed the impact of star wing Tommy Bowe after the Ospreys created Magners League history at the end of last month.
Bowe was part of the Ospreys side that became the first three-time winners of the Celtic crown after they upset table toppers Leinster at the RDS in the league’s inaugural Grand Final.
The 26-year-old Irishman touched down for the game’s first try in Dublin, confirming his position as the Magners League’s leading try scorer not only for the 2009/10 season but also throughout the history of the competition.
That personal triumph and the Ospreys’ collective success was a fitting end to a thrilling campaign which had seen Bowe show great loyalty to the region that had offered him a fresh challenge two summers ago.
Bowe moved to Wales from his native Ulster in July 2008 and, while his star had certainly begun its significant rise to the top during his time at Ravenhill, it is his progress at the Ospreys that has really seen him become one of the world’s leading wingers.
No surprise then that there was plenty of interest in his services earlier this year, with French, English and Irish clubs keen to get their hands on the Ospreys flyer when his contract came ran its course at the end of this season.
But Bowe quashed any talk of a Liberty Stadium exit by signing an extension to his current deal to remain in South Wales, much to the delight of Holley and co.
“His season’s been average – there’s a bit more in him I think!” joked Holley, after Bowe added the Magners League crown to both the Irish and Welsh Professional Players’ Association Player of the Year and the Player of the Six Nations titles he won earlier in the season.
“I’m not embarrassed to say how much we think about Tommy. The only thing he can win now is X-Factor!
“He’s been a huge acquisition for us, not just on the field but off the field. He’s a great character, he drives standards, he’s not afraid to challenge things or come up with ideas – he’s fantastic at that.
“He’s versatile for us, although he perhaps hasn’t played in his secondary position of centre in the second half of the season as much as we would have both liked but that’s because of the form of some of the other players.
“It’s a big measure for us that he’s decided to stay. It galvanises us a little bit more and it shows that he’s got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing.
“He’s been fabulous – what he’s going to do next year to emulate this season, I really don’t know.”