Bowe was dropped for the opening Pool D victory over Canada but responded by scoring two well-taken tries against Romania at Wembley on Sunday.
“It’s where we can qualify ourselves”.
A combination of stubborn Romanian defence and loose Irish play left the game scoreless until Bowe struck on the hour, reaching over in the right corner for his 30th try for his country.
And Schmidt insists he has not yet decided his XV to face Italy next Sunday.
“There were a number of players who performed really well and will create a big selection headache for Italy”, said Schmidt.
With thousands of eyes on her, the mystery woman said yes and leapt into the arms of the global rugby player – who plies his trade for European Challenge Cup side the Bucuresti Wolves and amateur SuperLiga club CSM.
Keith Earls had taken an excellent high catch in the build-up to Bowe’s score and in the 29th minute, he went from provider to scorer, latching on to a long Zebo pass and speeding straight into the corner for a second Ireland try and his sixth at World Cups.
Left wing Earls also touched down twice and Zebo was a constant menace with his willingness to attack from deep in an all-round impressive Irish backline display. He singled out backs Keith Earls, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo and Darren Cave, prop Cian Healy making his first start since surgery on a prolapsed disc in his neck in May, lock Devin Toner, who made 11 tackles and stole a lineout throw-in, and stand-in captain Jamie Heaslip.
“When you’re digging deep and you’re blowing hard they do pick you up”. The support has blown the squad away.
Bowe, 31, was at fault for Jonny May’s try in Ireland’s 21-13 defeat to England at the start of the month, but he returned to form against Romania. It’s not put on them that they have to, but I think he’s been good.
“The first two games against France and Ireland, once we knew the draw, it was about competing and showing everybody we can compete at this level”, Howells said. “Now as far as Romania are concerned we’re probably playing a semi-final and a final now”.
The Monaghan man’s try saw Ireland take immediate advantage of the sin-binning of Romanian centre Czaba Gal. He saw yellow for taking out Reddan at the back of a ruck, and a neat loop between Reddan and the newly-introduced Paddy Jackson, with Madigan running a decoy line, set up Bowe to score out wide.
To me, Zebo provides the magic that may be the difference to winning games that are on a knife edge, but from Joe’s point of view Zebo is delivering for those around him too, which is crucial.
Howells laughed the proposal off as being “too romantic for me”, adding that he was sure Surugiu’s girlfriend “enjoyed every minute”.