"It's a heartbreaking decision" - Tommy Bowe on his latest injury setback

Ulster and Ireland star chats to Sean Moncrieff

Tommy Bowe, Sean Moncrieff

Tommy Bowe and Sean Moncrieff

Tommy Bowe has ruled himself out of Ireland's summer tour of South Africa but fully expects to be fighting fit again ahead of next season.

Exploratory knee surgery has kept him out of Ulster's Guinness Pro 12 playoff commitments and speaking to Sean Moncrieff today he is focusing on getting himself right for the 2016-17 season.

"My knee is on the mend. It's not quite there at the moment and I had to make the decision to step back. I got myself back playing a couple of weeks to go and I felt really good. I was close, up to about 80 per cent ," he said.

"I think I was up to 96% of my top speed that I've hit, so I knew that my knee was back, that I was fit but I just got a small little twinge in a different area of my knee.

"I had to rest that for a week and because I rested that, the rehabs I was doing on the rest of my knee wasn't able to happen and the decision was just made 'listen you've got to look at the bigger picture' and it's a heartbreaking decision because you spend all season trying to get yourself back onto the pitch [for] these big games. It's a tough call to make but looking at the bigger picture, it's a huge year next year and hopefully I'll be back firing on all cylinders."