Watch: Joe Schmidt lauds Ireland's ability to stifle French challenge

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Overseeing his final Six Nations game in charge of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Joe Schmidt was left immensely satisfied as his side recorded a 26-14 victory against France.

Ireland's third win of the current campaign, today's win marked a successful return to Dublin after an opening weekend defeat to England.

"Getting the four tries, getting the bonus point, that was what we needed to stay right in the mix," Schmidt stated ahead of next weekend's clash with Wales in Cardiff.

"It means we're one point behind England, two points behind Wales, one round to go. From where we were the last time we sat in this room, it's taken some time but there was a bit of our rhythm back today."

A convincing win that was not perhaps entirely captured by Ireland 12-point winning margin, the New Zealander was nevertheless thrilled with aspects of his side's performance.

"I don't think I've ever seen in the last six years a team control 40-minutes like we did in that first-half," noted Joe Schmidt.

"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.

"To keep that pressure on for that full 40-minutes really spoke volumes about the intensity and about the energy we brought to our game, and also the cohesion."

After wins against Scotland and Italy were met with certain qualifications regarding Ireland's performances therein, today's defeat of France clearly impressed the departing Irish coach.

Although reclaiming the Six Nations title is not entirely in Ireland's hands, Joe Schmidt clearly believes his side have begun to distance themselves from the ominous worries that surrounded early games throughout this campaign.

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