Could we see Tommy Bowe in a Munster jersey next season?
Flying Irish winger Tommy Bowe is set to play his rugby at home next season, and Munster and Ulster are leading the chase to secure his signature.
The Sunday Times are reporting today that the Monaghan native is set to leave the Ospreys in the summer despite having a year left on his contract as the Welsh side seek to dramatically reduce their current wage bill.
According to a report in the paper, Bowe is one of the highest paid players in Britain at the moment, earning in the region of a cool £350,000 per annum. The days of players plying their trade in Wales earning that sort of money would appear to be at an end, however, after a salary cap of £3.5 million per squad was recently imposed on all four Welsh regions.
Bowe could conceivably follow some of his former Ospreys team-mates to France, where the lifestyle is good and the salaries are extortionately high, but playing his rugby abroad could hinder his prospects of making the Lions squad for 2013. As a result, Bowe is likely to come home and the provinces, of course, will be falling over themselves to secure his signature.
Ulster would appear favourites to sign him considering that he is a native of the province and played for them before switching to the Ospreys. Of all the provinces, Munster would seem to have the greatest need for the versatile 27-year old to provide some thrust to their backline and although Leinster would jump at the chance to snap him up, they’re fairly well served in the backs department as it is.
If Bowe was to return home, he would be contracted to the IRFU, who would have some sort of influence in Bowe’s decision. Considering Leinster’s resources in the areas where Bowe does his stuff, a move to the current Heineken Cup champions seems unlikely.
Looks like a straight shootout between Munster and Ulster to secure the services of one of the deadliest wingers in world rugby for next season, then. Let's try and keep it all above board lads.