Six Nations 2015: Ireland can still retain title despite Wales defeat

Ulster wing believes Joe Schmidt's green machine have it all to play for against Scotland next week despite Wales defeat

By Gareth Llewellyn

Tommy Bowe insists Ireland can still win the RBS 6 Nations despite their 23-16 defeat to Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Ulster wing allowed Wales centre Scott Williams (picture above) to ghost past him in the second half to score the decisive try that ended Ireland’s Grand Slam dreams and prevented Joe Schmidt’s men winning a record 11th successive game.

It’s the first opportunity for an Irish team to win back-to-back titles in I don’t know how long. It’s a massive match in Murrayfield next week and we’ll be pumped up for it.

Tommy Bowe believes Ireland can retain their title

With Ireland travelling to Edinburgh next week to take on winless Scotland, there is still all to play for with Ireland, England and Wales all level on six points from the first four rounds.

As with last year, the title looks set to be decided by points difference, but Ireland will need to take their chances, which they failed to do at the Millennium Stadium, when they take on a Scotland side with nothing to lose.

“We’ll be hurting now, we’ll be disappointed 100 per cent in the changing room,” Bowe said.

“The boys are very, very quiet in there with what we let slip.

“We’ve got it all to play for.

“It’s the first opportunity for an Irish team to win back-to-back titles in I don’t know how long.

“It’s a massive match in Murrayfield next week and we’ll be pumped up for it.”

Bowe was partly culpable for Wales’ only try of the match, as a miscommunication with number eight Jamie Heaslip allowed Scarlets centre Scott Williams to breeze through the Ireland defence.

In the Six Nations, to give a team such a lead as that, especially away from home, you’re playing catch-up, you’re making the job very hard for yourself.

Tommy Bowe blames Ireland’s poor start for defeat

And the winger was unable to make much of an impact for in attack for Ireland, despite the green machine spending eight minutes putting together 45 phases of attack in the Wales 22 early in the second half.

With numbers out wide and a lot of space to work with in front of just two Wales defenders, Ireland chose to keep working short passes near the posts and eventually coughed up the ball when a pass from captain Paul O’Connell to replacement prop Cian Healy was knocked on barely a metre from the line.

But Bowe concedes that it was Ireland’s first-half failures that ultimately cost them the game.

“We didn’t start well, certainly,” he added.

“We gifted them four easy penalties, which is something that we’ll definitely look at.

“We had talked a lot about Wayne Barnes and what we needed to do in the breakdown area.

“That’s something we’ll be disappointed with.

“In the Six Nations, to give a team such a lead as that, especially away from home, you’re playing catch-up, you’re making the job very hard for yourself.

“We came back into it, we pushed hard and we’re disappointed to not come away with more.”

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