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It’s Still All To Play For – Bowe

It’s Still All To Play For – Bowe

Ireland can use the disappointment of their RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales to spur them on for the Championship finale against Scotland, insists winger Tommy Bowe.

Joe Schmidt’s men head into next Saturday’s final round level on six points with both Wales and England, with scoring difference separating the top three teams. Ireland lie second, four points behind England and 21 points ahead of Wales.

And while they will review the mistakes which cost them against Warren Gatland’s Welsh side, the focus is firmly on how they can improve and learn from them ahead of the all-important trip to Murrayfield.

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Ireland dominated possession and despite spending the majority of the second half in Welsh territory, they could only muster one try – a penalty try for a collapsed maul with little over ten minutes remaining. However, Tommy Bowe says it will not be hard to pick themselves back up for the Scottish game.

“Absolutely not. We will be hurting now. We are disappointed, 100%. The changing room and the boys, it’s very quiet in there with what we let slip there, but we will straight back to camp, Carton House tomorrow and we’ve got it all to play for,” said the Ulster star.

“First time for an Irish team to win back-to-back titles in I don’t know how long, so still a huge amount to play for. It’s a massive match at Murrayfield next week and we will be pumped up for it.”

Reflecting on the performance in Cardiff, Bowe conceded that you cannot give a team like Wales the kind of start Ireland did – 12-0 up inside 13 minutes – and expect to be able to fight your way back.

As Wales prop Samson Lee received treatment for a leg injury which held play up before Leigh Halfpenny slotted over his fourth penalty, Ireland captain Paul O’Connell spoke to his players about their discipline. Although they cut down on the infringements, the gap on the scoreboard proved too much to close.

“In the Six Nations to give a team such a lead like that, especially away from home, playing catch up…you are making the job very hard on yourself. Credit to the boys, we came back into it, pushed hard and we are disappointed not to have come away with more then we have.

“Paulie just spoke about something we talk about all the time, the breakdown is a no-nonsense area. Wayne Barnes was getting fed up of penalising us. It is something we are going to have to change, giving away four (early) penalties. It was something he didn’t need to say too much about. We all knew we needed to improve in that area.”

Ireland missed out on one glaring try-scoring opportunity in the second half when they failed to ship the ball wide with an overlap on the right. With Jared Payne and Bowe pleading for possession, the forwards elected to continue to pick and go close to the posts and the attack came to an end with a Cian Healy knock-on.

It was a huge moment in the game as Bowe explained: “We were screaming for it out wide but the noise and the atmosphere in that stadium, it is very hard to hear anything. Our scrum half (Eoin Reddan) was stuck in the ruck, so for the forwards to have to throw a pass out, it is something we will work on.

“It’s something whenever you are that close to the line, you want to (score), I’m sure what’s going through the forwards’ heads is they want to get over and score. They are the small margins. Whenever we give a 12-point lead to a team with such class as Wales, playing catch up, you need to take your chances when you get them.”