Joe Schmidt warns Ireland not to rely on Sexton after dramatic win in France

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and Jonathan Sexton before the start of the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and Argentina, Dublin 2017 Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Joe Schmidt has ordered Ireland not to rely on Johnny Sexton to dig them out of trouble again in the NatWest 6 Nations.

Head coach Schmidt admitted he will drum home the message that Ireland cannot afford to let Test matches slip away, after Sexton's last-ditch drop-goal stole a 15-13 win over France in Paris.

France caught Ireland cold with Teddy Thomas' converted try edging Les Bleus into a late 13-12 lead, only for Sexton's added-time drop-goal to save the day.

Ireland ploughed through close to 40 phases before Sexton dropped the winning goal, and while Schmidt hailed his talisman's nerves of steel, he conceded his side can ill afford to leave victories so late in future.

"We can't leave matches in the balance," said Schmidt.

"You've got to make the most of advantages and get the points you need.

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

"That's 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.

"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.

"Maybe people underestimate how hard it is to come here and win."