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Ireland suffer Tommy Bowe blow a month before Six Nations starts

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 6, 2016

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe has admitted defeat in his battle to be fit for the 2016 Six Nations, after sustaining a serious knee ligament injury in their 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to Argentina last autumn.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Quarter Final - Ireland v Argentina - Millennium Stadium

The 31-year-old is a key outlet for Joe Schmidt’s side, scoring 30 tries in 67 caps to date. Losing another experienced player for their squad will further hamper Ireland’s chances of winning a third successive Six Nations, and Coral now go 5/2 on them taking the title.

“Unfortunately it’s a slow process and to rule yourself out of the Six Nations is disappointing,” said Bowe. “I have to concentrate on getting myself back to where I was and there’s no point in rushing it.

Schmidt has so many injuries

Iain Henderson, who may have been a leading candidate to switch from flanker to lock to replace retired Ireland captain Paul O’Connell, is also set to miss the Six Nations alongside back row utility man Peter O’Mahony.

Rugby Union - RBS Six Nations - France v Ireland - Ireland Training and Press Conference - Day Two - Carton House

Veteran tighthead prop Mike Ross, meanwhile, is doubtful for the start of the campaign with a serious hamstring tear, and fly half Jonny Sexton has missed much of the Christmas and New Year period with a recurring quadriceps problem.

With Wales visiting Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Sunday, February 7th for their Six Nations opener, Schmidt’s compatriot Warren Gatland is one coach that can sympathise with an injury crisis.

Bowe aiming to be back for Ulster

Despite his absence from Ireland’s campaign, Bowe is hoping to be fit for club side Ulster before the end of this term. “To be back by the start of February is unlikely, but I’m still pretty positive I can add something to Ulster’s season,” he added.

Ulster sit sixth in the Pro 12 standings after 11 games, and hold odds of 11/4 to be regular season winners and 3/1 to emerge victorious from the Grand Final.

Ireland, meanwhile, are 10/3 chances for a Triple Crown success against their fellow British Isles outfits and 8/1 shots to secure a Six Nations Grand Slam.

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