Tommy Bowe has rubbished rumours he may retire as he faces another eight weeks out having just come back from that cruciate ligament injury.
Having spent 18 months on the sidelines recovering from the ACL injury, Bowe was brought on as a late substitute against Wales at the Principality Stadium in his comeback game a month ago.
And his luck could have not been crueller as he fractured his ankle before people even knew he was on the field. The 33-year-old wing is four weeks into his recovery this time around and has reflected on what was undoubtedly the most heart-wrenching moments of his career:
“Coming off that pitch in the buggy it was just a full on ‘for God’s sake.’ I grinned because you’d either laugh or you’d cry and I didn’t want to cry in front of 80,000 people,” Bowe told The42.ie.
“But I just couldn’t believe it, 15 months before it was that same buggy I was taken off on in that Argentina match. I just couldn’t believe it, I sat there in disbelief.”
“I felt good coming into the Six Nations, that I was finally getting into a bit of form.
“My body felt good and I was well rested. I thought if I had got a bit more time in that Welsh game, if I could have got 20, 30, 40 minutes off the bench you never know what way things could have happened with injuries.
“I could have gotten another game and you know things can swing different ways but then when you get on for such a short time, then come off injured.
“I had to train as hard as I’ve ever trained before, I put everything into it and then to get injured again. It’s so frustrating.”
British and Irish Lions wing Bowe received numerous messages of support after the setback which inspired him not to throw in the towel.
However, there have been noises from the media that Bowe wouldn’t have the mental strength to fight back from a serious injury for a second time.
“People were kind of thinking this injury was the end of me,” said Bowe.
“If it was my knee again or ligaments again it would have been ‘jeez I really need consider’ but a broken bone is so much easier to deal with so it’s never been in my intention to retire.
“I feel I’ve a lot more to achieve and my body feels good despite being in a cast.
“I’m 33, I’ve spent nearly a year or more out injured. Once my knee felt good, the rest of me felt fresh and mentally more than anything I feel fresh.
“I’m keen to keep going but at the same time I don’t want to keep going and become a bit-part player.
“I’m too competitive, if I want to keep going I want to keep pushing myself to get into the Ulster squad, into the Irish squad and pushing on for things otherwise it would be a waste of time.”