Ireland can find another level - Sexton warns Grand Slam-chasing Wales

Wales assistant coach Robin Mc Bryde is wary of Ireland

Wales assistant coach Robin Mc Bryde is wary of Ireland

Ireland got a bit of their rhythm back in Sunday's dominant win over France and will push to finish as well as they can after putting some of the frustration of a flat Six Nations start behind them, coach Joe Schmidt said.

"Cian it was an incredibly smart call by him he was a bit unlucky I was frustrated by us being awarded three scrum penalties then the French had a yellow card but they still cleared their line".

Joe Schmidt's side now need to beat table-topping Wales in their final match in Cardiff and hope England fail to get the better of Scotland if the trophy is to remain in their hands.

But Ireland, who can themselves still win the championship, brought an end to the All Blacks' record-breaking 18-match winning run in 2016 and also denied England a Grand Slam the following year.

The Craigavon-born hooker made his Ireland debut in 2005 and has gone on to become one of the most capped rugby players of all time.

"We'll give them the respect that they absolutely deserve".

"The French got knocked back early and it was hard for them to then get back on the front foot, but I think part of the hardship was that we kept that pressure on".

'I'm sure there is a lot of pressure on everyone for every worldwide. I know from talking to some of their lads on tours that the expectation in Wales is huge and it will be at its highest this week.

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'They will be under pressure, but so will we. We will soak up the atmosphere but it is important we do not get caught up in the occasion or the emotional side of things.

Captain Rory Best, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Josh van der Flier, and CJ Stander - a combined 304 caps - came back into the pack.

- France have lost 10 of their last 12 away games in the Six Nations (W2), their only victories in that run coming against Italy (2015 and 2017).

Asked to outline Best's leadership qualities, Sexton replied: 'Do you have half an hour?

"I don't think we'll talk too much about the psychology of them".

'Sometimes if the lineouts are not always going well, if the right decision is to go for the corner he'll still say go to the corner, and he'll take responsibility.

Gatland is due to name his team on Thursday, with McBryde reporting that full-back Liam Williams is "moving in the right direction" after going off injured against Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday. We've never had to make so many early changes in a match or changes just before a match kick-off.

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