Ireland winger Denis Hickie believes the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the RBS Six Nations title could help them achieve World Cup success.
Denis Hickie scored two of Ireland's tries against Italy
The Irish beat Italy 51-24 on Saturday but were pipped to the crown by France on a narrow points difference.
"England, who lost out on several Grand Slams before winning one, are a good example of how you can come back a lot stronger," said Hickie.
"We can draw on these disappointments and use them to spur us on."
Leinster winger Hickie added: "Maybe the harsh lessons and heartbreak that we endured in this Six Nations will stand us in good stead, not just in next year's championship but more importantly at the World Cup.
"This could turn out to be a valuable championship, despite the pain."
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll revealed he did not watch the agonising outcome in Paris.
"There was nothing I could do watching it so I had a swim and went up to the room. Shane Horgan came in and told me we did not win the title," O'Driscoll.
"It was a bizarre day because it is tough to win any Six Nations match so to go to Rome and win by playing so well was pleasing.
"It did not fall for us in the end but we have probably only got ourselves to blame for that.
"We had our chances and needed to look after own destiny."
For the second successive year Ireland finished second on points difference and they have now ended the Six Nations as runners-up for five of the last seven championships.