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Tommy Bowe has confirmed he will not be fit for Ireland's RBS Six Nations defence.
Bowe tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Ireland's World Cup defeat to Argentina and underwent surgery in October.
The Ulster winger had hoped to return to action early this year but he has resigned himself to the fact that he will not be available for the Six Nations.
"Unfortunately it's a slow process and to rule yourself out of the Six Nations is disappointing," Bowe told BBC Sport.
"I have to concentrate on getting myself back to where I was and there's no point in rushing it."
While he will not be fit for the Six Nations, Bowe is hopeful he will be able to return to competitive rugby before the end of the season.
"To be back by the start of February is unlikely but I'm still pretty positive I can add something to Ulster's season," he added.