Blair Cowan – A superb first Season at London Irish

It has been an outstanding year for Blair Cowan at London Irish and it was capped last night as he received the Player of the Season award at the Club’s end of season dinner.

The flanker has appeared in 25 out of 32 matches for the Club this season and his fine form saw him propelled in to the Scotland national set up where he won an A cap in January.

After two enjoyable seasons at the Cornish Pirates in Cornwall, he moved to Worcester Warriors from where he joined London Irish last summer.

After a solid pre-season, Blair suffered a calf injury that halted the start of his season; however it is something that in the long run has served him well.

He said: “Coming in to a new Club and then getting an injury before the start of the season was really frustrating. I turned up fresh, ready to go and had a good pre-season. The injury was just one of those little niggles which was the worst thing as it was constant and kept me out of the start of the Premiership. It did however give me the hunger and drive to come in and make an impact, so in one regard it was useful because I had to come in and put a marker down in my first two games and that put me on the map for the rest of the season.”

And what an impression he made in those opening matches. He came on as a second half substitute at the Rec when Irish performed well and then was man of the match on his full debut and a try scorer in the Exiles thrilling victory over Harlequins at Madejski Stadium a week later.

“Personally with all the game time I have got and the exposure, I’m fairly happy. You are always your own worst critic so there are obviously things I’m not happy about personally but overall I’m really happy with the way things have unfolded this year. On a team side; I think we are just disappointed because I think we know we can do so much better and we have underachieved.”

Is there a standout highlight of the season? “The season in general for me has been a highlight. Being able to play every week in the Premiership has been special. I would say those big wins. Saracens away was a big win, Harlequins at home as well. If you look at the teams we have beaten, those are the ones pushing for the Premiership so we have shown what we can do.”

With significant signings already announced for next season, the depth of the squad will be far greater explains Cowan.

“The players coming in for next season will definitely help with injuries as well as putting pressure on for starting places. I think you can easily get quite content with where you are at. It will put pressure on players now all season round to perform and that is healthy, so it is definitely going to add in more ways than.”

After conquering the Premiership the Exiles player of the season now has a place in the Scottish national team firmly in his sights.

“Playing for Scotland is a huge incentive for me. It is one of those things, if you asked me a year ago would I be involved with Scotland, I would have almost laughed it off, so it is amazing how fast things can turn around. It has been really nice to get involved in the International set up and to get an A cap out of it has made me even hungrier to hopefully get a cap in the summer time, but until that cap I’ll just keep pushing for it.”

Cowan is already eagerly anticipating the start of the 2014/15 campaign and believes that the Club can go from strength to strength over the next 12 months.

“A lot of people talk about buzzes at different Clubs and I feel the phrase can be thrown around loosely but I can genuinely say there is a real buzz happening here. The new facilities are going to be massive for us, and we have new backroom staff coaches coming in which will help massively. I think individually that will do wonders for the boys’ games. The optimism is there and the boys want to come in and really give it a good crack in the pre-season and see where we are at when the Premiership kicks off. “

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Saturday 06 Sep 2014
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