Keenan relishing chance to bounce back against Scotland

Keenan relishing chance to bounce back against Scotland

Ireland's Hugo Keenan has admitted that he is glad that he and the Irish players have a chance to get over their narrow defeat to England last weekend when Scotland come to Dublin.

Ireland and England played out a humdinger in London, and it was the unfancied English team that beat Ireland 23-22 with a last-gasp drop goal in front of the posts.

The loss for Ireland means they now can't be the first team ever to win back-to-back Grand Slams in Six Nations history.

It also means England have a chance to win the Six Nations title with a win against France next weekend, and if Ireland loses to Scotland in Dublin next week,.

Keenan, who had to play in the English game on the right wing because of Calvin Nash's HIA, claims that the team is lucky they have the chance to get over the English loss quickly, unlike when they lost to New Zealand in October. Ireland didn't play another game until they met France in Marseille at the start of February.

"The beauty in this one is that we have got a shot at redemption; it wasn't a final [against England], although you are nearly treating it like one," said Keenan.

"We have got an opportunity to bounce back and to do it at home in front of our fans, our families, our friends, and our brilliant support.

"That's a lucky opportunity and a privilege to have, and it is one that probably we haven't had too many opportunities to do in the past, so I think we are all going to have to dust ourselves down and get excited, and I am sure we will."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 9: Hugo Keenan of Ireland looks on during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on March 9, 2024 in London, England.(Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Keenan also admits that the week will be tough but knows from experience that Ireland has the experience to get over it and produce a strong performance at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

"It will be a tough week, but I think we will be ready for it and looking forward to it," he added.

"That's the challenge; that is the beauty of the competition; you lose a game, but you can still win the tournament. I think you have to, I suppose, take learnings from previous losses, take learnings from this loss, and move on quickly."

With the chance of making history gone for Ireland, it would be understandable that heads could drop. However, Keenan believes that the challenge of still producing a title-winning season is one that excites the Irish team. The Leinster star now believes it is important to finish the job.

"I don't think we can drop our heads or feel too sorry for ourselves because we are in the position where we wanted to come to the end of the tournament," he said

"Obviously, not the ideal one, but it is still there to be won, and that's exciting for me and for the team.

"We have to look forward to that and relish the opportunity. And it is a challenge, I suppose, to me personally, my teammates, and the squad as a whole as to how we can regroup and come together tighter and regroup and gather ourselves and go and finish the job properly."

Ireland plays Scotland at 16:45 on Saturday.