Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell backs Johnny Sexton to stand firm

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has been ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations through injury

Aided by roaring Dublin fans and drizzling Irish rain, another flawless goalkicking effort by Jonathan Sexton led Ireland over France 19-9 in an often sloppy Six Nations rugby match on Saturday.

The loss left France, on five points, in the bottom half of the table where they have finished every Six Nations championship for the past five years.

Flyhalf Johnny Sexton, returning to the side after injuries, gave Ireland a 10-point lead with two penalties and a drop goal early in the second half.

With expectation comes an added pressure but if players step onto the pitch expecting to win, that can only be a good thing. They can interchange, come on and off and both run the game really well.

Another ideal goalkicking effort by Jonathan Sexton led Ireland over France 19-9 in an often sloppy, rain-soaked Six Nations rugby match this morning (NZT).

While England could regain top spot with victory over Italy on Monday (AEDT), Murray knows Ireland is still very much in the fight for the title, especially given the two sides meet on the final weekend at Aviva Stadium. "We are really trying to stay really focused on the immediate challenge".

Speaking at the post-game press conference, Ireland captain Rory Best pointed to improvements made in Ireland's defence and the lessons they learned from the outing against Scotland.

"Johnny gives confidence to the team and has massive experience", said Henderson.

But momentum swung back to Ireland after 29 minutes when Murray pounced over the line from a well-worked scrum and Sexton converted.

Sexton, playing his first rugby since a calf strain on January 20 took over after the break, slotting a penalty and the drop goal before his replacement Paddy Jackson slotted the penalty that denied France a losing bonus point.

"I think we actually showed some endeavour today".

"England are going to have to keep going full speed and (their next opponents) Scotland have proved that they are very hard to get past", he told reporters.

Andy Farrell has copped his fair share of flak for the rate at which Ireland were leaking tries but he deserves huge credit as his side didn't concede a try for the first time since he came into the job a year ago.



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