After a frustrating year of recovering from his Rugby World Cup knee injury, Tommy Bowe is looking forward to a some downtime over Christmas with his wife Lucy Whitehouse in their new Belfast home.
Speaking exclusively to VIP in the penthouse of the Morrison Hotel, Tommy told us how he’s planning to enjoy the holidays with his loved ones.
“Last year we were down in my family home in Monaghan and we had Lucy’s family over from Wales, and my sister and brother were home from Australia and London, which was great,” he said. “You take memories from that, and looking back at the pictures over the year always brings a smile to your face. Christmas is really all about family, at the end of the day!”
The Ulster and Ireland star continued: “This year we’ll enjoy a few movies, a few Christmas jumpers and a bit of craic. Myself and Luce have moved into our new house in Belfast so we think we might stay there this year, and whether our families come over we’re not too sure. So we might have to be in charge of the turkey this year! That could be interesting!”
Tommy has no problem admitting that Lucy, who he wed last year, is his voice of reason whenever his injuries get him down.
“She’s had a tough time of it, I have to say,” he laughed. “She’s been great, because I’ve had a few tough years with injuries and she’s been there and listened to a lot of moaning and complaining.
“But she’s very straight, she definitely keeps me down to earth! She reminds me that I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in. I’m playing a sport that I’ve grown up loving and I’m paid for it.”
He continued: “You can moan about being injured or not playing well but at the end of the day, eventually this career will end and I’ll have to go to a normal job and sit at a desk and be wondering, looking back, why the hell I didn’t enjoy it more and why I didn’t appreciate it. Sometimes it takes someone close to you to bring you back down to earth and remind you of that.”
A welcome distraction to his struggles on the pitch this year has been Tommy’s XV Kings clothes collection, as well as his Lloyd & Pryce shoe range, which are designed and distributed in his hometown.
Speaking to VIP as he celebrated XV King’s AW16 range, the 32-year-old said this third collection has expanded to cater to men’s growing interest in dapper style.
“This is our third season of giving the clothes a proper bash, and we now have over 80 styles – we started off with 15!” he said. “At the start it was all very casual, hoodies and jackets – the kind of thing you’d wear to a rugby match.
“But we’ve kind of seen how men’s trends have progressed; instead of going out in a pair of bootcut jeans and a t-shirt they’re starting to dress up a bit more; it’s all a bit more slick! So we’ve added a few more smart shirts and jackets, and I even have more formal shoes, a new brand called Bowe & Bootmaker. It’s all had a great response, people appreciate the quality of gear and our attention to detail. The stuff is flying.”
Along with hoping for continued success for his clothing and shoe lines, Tommy is feeling positive looking ahead to 2017.
“I feel good at the moment, my knee feels great which is hugely positive as there were times I wondered if it would ever get better. I’ll be actually playing matches coming up to Christmas and just before New Year’s, and I just played for the Barbarians, which was a huge deal and we won against Fiji, so it’s all looking positive,” he told VIP.
He added: “I’m kind of looking forward to seeing the end of this year, to be honest, but looking back it hasn’t been all that bad – I see it as having given me the opportunity to spend more time with the clothes and shoes lines. Hopefully it will just keep growing and growing!”