Tommy Bowe's TV debut will be Leinster's season opener and it's free to watch
The Ulster and Ireland legend will be on the other side of the camera this season.
This time last year, SportsJOE sat down with Tommy Bowe for a chat in Dublin.
New season, new hope. Bowe was invigorated after a decent pre-season and even had a couple of run-outs at inside centre.
A couple of weeks before we spoke with Bowe, Ulster teammate Andrew Trimble joked, on The Hard Yards, that 'everyone in Ireland' was in camp at August's two-day mini camp at Carton House. "Everyone except me," joked Bowe.
"Hopefully I get a few more games under my belt and get more familiar with it... I wasn't too upset at missing the camp because I know if I can get a string of games under my belt and get myself back into form, I'd hope I could try and push my way back in there."
12 months on and Bowe does not have to worry about that any more. Instead, his pre-match nerves will revolve around his debut as eir Sports host for their Guinness PRO14 coverage.
So the first @PRO14Official week is here. Thankfully no pre-season but have the same game week nerves and excitement. A new challenge, looking forward to getting started with @eirSport this Friday #Cardiff v #Leinster
— Tommy Bowe (@TommyBowe) August 27, 2018
Bowe's 'debut' on eir Sport will be Leinster's PRO14 opener against Cardiff Blues, at the Cardiff Arms Park (7:35pm), and it will be free-to-air.
The broadcaster will also be showing the game live on their social media platforms and there are plenty of reasons to tune in.
For Leinster, Ross Byrne will be hoping for two or three games in the No.10 jersey now that Joey Carbery has sought pastures new. In fairness, Byrne was chosen ahead of Carbery in the role, when both were fit and available, last season. Inclusion on the summer tour to Australia has given the 23-year-old that added motivation to push on in 2018/19.
Luke McGrath missed out on the tour Down Under but he will be aware of Conor Murray being sat out for the next couple of months with neck issues. Murray is top dog but the deputy role is up for grabs and there is the prospect of starting against New Zealand and Argentina in November.
Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Josh Murphy are the latest trio of back-row contenders so that should leave Scott Fardy to battle it out with James Ryan and Devin Toner, when they are fed into the rotation, for a second row spot.
Fans should also get the opportunity to see James Lowe and new signing Joe Tomane in the same backline together. Throw in a couple of breakthrough stars that we'll probably all be raving about in next year's Six Nations and in the Champions Cup closing stages and we're flying.
The free-to-air bonanza follows on Saturday with Connacht's season opener against Glasgow Warriors is available on TG4, who are also showing the Leinster match, from 3pm. Munster (vs. Cheetahs) and Ulster (vs. Scarlets) are both kicking off at 5:15pm and are being broadcast on eir Sport.