Ireland wing and all-round funnyman , took some time out to chat with Rugby World about nicknames, old school cars, practical jokes and party tricks. He also proves that he’s not just a talent on the pitch.
RUGBY WORLD: Do you have a phobia?
TOMMY BOWE: Rats. I haven’t come across many, but having lived in the country they’re the main thing.
RW: What are your bugbears?
TB: Slow drivers. Or people who are in a world of their own when they’re driving, like Andrew Trimble. He’s a disaster! He’s got an old-school convertible Mini and I’ve got an old-school convertible Beetle, in pea green – it stands out! I want us to have a race when the weather’s nice – he’s a slow driver so I should come out on top.
RW: What couldn’t you live without?
TB: Mayonnaise – I could eat it with anything. Also, my mobile phone.
RW: How’s life in Swansea?
TB: It’s going well. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived on my own. I’ve always had housemates so now I’m doing all the cooking and cleaning. It’s nice to have a bit of space and the Ospreys guys are great – there’s always something to do.
RW: Who are the jokers at the Ospreys?
TB: There are a couple of good pranksters. Ed Shervington is one of the characters in the squad and Ian Evans is a funny guy. In a rugby environment, there are practical jokes every day – you can never let your guard down. People take your phone and text people or take your car keys and park your car in a different place.
RW: What about with the Ireland squad?
TB: There are a lot of jokers in that set-up. Donncha O’Callaghan is known for it and Tomas O’Leary is a funny guy, too. There’s always stuff going on.
RW: Any good pranks you can share?
TB: A couple of guys once tied up our bag man, gagged him and sent him down in the lift to the lobby of the hotel. Everybody scarpered pretty quick after that.
The Pink Panther, Party tricks and VW Beetle
RW: What are your nicknames?
TB: With a name like Bowe, you get a lot: Bowfinger, Elbow, Dumbo, Dicky Bowe. At the Ospreys they tried to call me the Gypsy from Ireland, but it’s not caught on.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
TB: Once when I was playing for Ulster, this guy was running and had his shorts and pants pulled down. I can’t remember who it was but everything was exposed, although it didn’t get as big a cheer as I thought it would. Maybe it wasn’t the best arse!
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
TB: What would I want to do? Morph into different things like the character in X-Men [Mystique]. I could morph into [President Barack] Obama.
RW: Do you have a party trick?
TB: I can play The Pink Panther theme tune on the saxophone, although I haven’t done it for about ten years! That could be my party piece and if people have been drinking, hopefully they’ll be able to tell it’s The Pink Panther.
RW: Who’s your ideal woman?
TB: Jessica Alba.
RW: What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever bought?
TB: The green Beetle. I like it, but I can only use it for two or three weeks a year. It’s 37 years old and a lot of trouble – I can’t drive too far in it. If I lived in southern Spain it might be better, but over here it isn’t very practical. I’ve got a Mitsubishi Outlander in Wales – there’s loads of room for my kit.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
TB: To have a nice family and a successful career. I’ve not got a clue what it will be, though. I’ve got a degree in construction engineering, but I don’t think I’ll be using it.
RW: How do you want to be remembered?
TB: As somebody who played rugby and enjoyed his time on and off the pitch.
Have a look at this interview…
Learn more about Tommy’s Teammates at Ospreys…