By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin
The rest of the rugby world may have been stunned by Ireland's comprehensive victory over South Africa in Dublin yesterday, but Tommy Bowe said he and his teammates had always felt they could win the game.
Interviewed after the match, the Ulsterman was asked if the injuries list and new faces in the squad had worried the players or made them fear their chances.
"I don't think we did doubt ourselves to be honest," said Bowe. "A lot of the guys who came in are top, top players."
The winger said good work in training in the days leading up to the match had boosted confidence levels.
"All week we felt well-drilled, we trained exceptionally well and we were up for it," he said. "We wanted to get in their face and I think we did a great job of it."
He continued: "We knew exactly what threat South Africa posed but in the Aviva we got the crowd behind us. Our defence was great and we can take anyone on our day."
Bowe said that with the World Cup less than a year away the major focus now was consistency. Ireland need to put together a run of solid performances and three wins in this November series would be the ideal start to preparations for England 2015.
"We've shown in the past, we beat Australia in the World Cup, we beat big teams before, but it's doing it back-to-back," said Bowe.
"We've a great win under our belt now, but we've two big matches coming up and if we can get three from three it will be a fantastic step forward for us."