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Bowe up against friends when Ireland meets Wales

Updated: October 04, 2011, 02:49

WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) Tommy Bowe will be up against friends as well as rivals when he lines up on the wing for Ireland against Wales in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Seven of Bowe's teammates from Welsh club Ospreys are in Wales' squad, so he knows his opponents' game inside out.

"It adds a huge amount for me personally,'' Bowe said Tuesday. "I always really enjoy coming up against the Welsh fellas, who I know really well. It adds a huge amount of extra spice for me.

"For the guys who traveled together with the Lions, there's great camaraderie between the nations and I think that it's going to be a great little battle.''

With such familiarity between the Six Nations rivals, the players won't be waiting until the game itself before starting to swap jibes.

"I'm sure there'll be a few fun messages sent throughout the week and a bit of banter,'' Bowe said. "They're friends at the end of the day. I'm still mates with them all. It'll only be friendly banter. It won't be anything too serious.

"But obviously once we step out onto the pitch it's going to be a different story.''

Bowe said he has no preference about whether he comes up against George North or Ospreys teammate Shane Williams on Saturday but Ireland hooker Sean Cronin, who is likely to start following an injury to Rory Best, is preparing for a tough meeting with Huw Bennett.

"I've played against him plenty of times at the Ospreys,'' Cronin said. "There's a lot of guys I've played with there week in, week out. We all know each other very well.''

With the Ospreys providing the Wales squad with Bennett, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Paul James, Ryan Bevington and Williams, Bowe was always likely to spot a familiar face or two once the teams were quartered in the same city.

The hotels Wales and Ireland are staying in are just a 15-minute walk away from each other in Wellington.

"We went to the cinema last night and bumped into a few of them there, so it was nice,'' Bowe said. "I hadn't seen them since I'd been over here so it was good to have a catch up.''

Did they talk about the movie afterward?

"I don't even remember what it was,'' Bowe said. "It was rubbish.''

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