Six Nations 2018: Schmidt warns Ireland not to leave games in balance

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Highlights: France 13-15 Ireland

Coach Joe Schmidt has told his Ireland players they must kill off opponents when they have the chance after their last-gasp Six Nations win in France.

Having been in front for most of the match in Paris, Ireland were caught cold with Teddy Thomas' converted try edging France into a late 13-12 lead.

It took a brilliant drop-goal by Johnny Sexton to snatch victory for the Irish.

"We can't leave matches in the balance. We must make the most of advantages and get the points we need," said Schmidt.

"One freakish event, and one freakishly good player in Thomas and his try can undo all that hard work.

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Johnny Sexton scores monstrous match-winning drop-goal

"That is something we're disappointed with and we've got to do something to make sure that doesn't happen next week, and for the following weeks of the championship."

The relieved coach hailed British and Irish Lions star Sexton for fending off fatigue and cramp to seal Saturday's nail-biting triumph.

"It is hard to explain how you feel when you think the game has gone away, you have let it slip and suddenly you have grabbed it back," said Schmidt.

"It was an incredible team effort. It's fairly inspirational.

"We felt we got very close to earning some reward, but it was very slow ball and then we didn't appear to be getting much chance.

France's Henry Chavancy and Benjamin Fall celebrate with try scorer Teddy Thomas
France looked to have won the game when Teddy Thomas scored the only try in the 71st minute

"And when Johnny struck the drop-goal I was just willing it to have enough distance.

"It looked it might, and when it did, as a coaching team we all stood up as one and probably cheered with the other Irish supporters who were in the stadium.

"Johnny has hit a few drop-goals in his time, but not many. But his clarity of thought and ability to win those big moments is second to none."

Ireland now face Italy in Dublin on Saturday, but must do so without Josh van der Flier, who has suspected knee ligament damage.

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