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Ireland 17-13 Scotland: From World Cup disappointment to Six Nations glory

Ireland "rebuilt and regrouped" after their World Cup disappointment to win back-to-back Six Nations titles, says former wing Tommy Bowe.

Bowe said there was "such hurt and disappointment" after Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals by New Zealand in October.

A cagey 17-13 victory over Scotland secured Ireland the Six Nations title in Dublin on Saturday.

"Ireland can be so, so proud of this team," Bowe said.

"They have done this country very, very proud."

After winning the Grand Slam in the 2023 Six Nations, Ireland headed into the World Cup as the number one ranked team in the world.

Despite defeating eventual champions South African in the Pool stages, Ireland were knocked out in the quarter-finals by a superb All Blacks performance.

Without retired fly-half Johnny Sexton and a number of injured players, they started their Six Nations campaign with wins over France, Italy and Wales.

But Ireland's dreams of back-to-back Grand Slams - a feat never achieved in the Six Nations - were ended by Marcus Smith's last-gasp drop goal for England in their penultimate match.

Andy Farrell knew a victory or draw would secure the Six Nations title against Scotland, but defeat would leave England with a chance to snatch the championship in the final game against France later on Saturday.

'They deserve it'

Andrew Porter's try in the second half was decisive in Dublin
Andrew Porter's try in the second half was decisive in Dublin

Scotland, who still had hopes of winning a first Triple Crown since 1990, came out firing in Dublin and were right on Ireland's case with a one-point deficit at half-time.

However, the hosts responded and had two tries ruled out before Andrew Porter crashed over to give Ireland breathing room heading into the final 10 minutes.

Huw Jones' try set up a grandstand finish at Aviva Stadium, but Ireland held on to win and Bowe, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, said the achievement was "just incredible".

"They have played some unbelievable rugby," he added.

"What an unbelievable Six Nations it has been. They have a points difference of 84 points, which is just remarkable where rugby is probably the third-biggest and most-played sport [behind football and gaelic games].

"This team are unbelievably professional. They are led by a talismanic figure in Andy Farrell and Peter O'Mahony, a man who we are not too sure if we will see in the green jersey again.

"If this is the last time he represents his country he can be unbelievably proud. He has left every inch of his body out there.

"They do deserve it. They have played an exciting brand of rugby and they have really captured the imagination of the supporters. There is something that has to be said about Andy Farrell because he has created such a bond within this team.

"They don't get ahead of themselves and they are an incredibly close bunch of players.

"Despite that loss last weekend, he was the first person to say that England deserved it but Ireland were going to focus on Scotland and not get too caught up in it."