Schmidt: I will miss this immensely

An emotional Joe Schmidt conceded he will miss being in the dugout at the Aviva Stadium after taking charge of Ireland in a home Six Nations match for the last time.

The New Zealander is stepping down from the role after this year's Rugby World Cup and led his side to a 26-14 victory over France on Sunday to keep alive the defence of their Six Nations title.

Asked if he will miss being on the touchline in Dublin, Schmidt told Virgin Media: "Immensely, immensely.

"It's been six incredible years for me. I'll miss it."

With Ireland's championship hopes hanging by a thread ever since their opening-game defeat to England, Schmidt identified a bonus point against France as a crucial objective.

It was one they achieved courtesy of tries from Rory Best, Johnny Sexton, Jack Conan and Keith Earls.

"We wanted to force our way through and get four tries," said Schmidt, who saw his side concede two late tries. 

"And when we did, it felt like we buttoned off a little bit. I thought when the replacements came on, initially they did a really good job for us but the last 10 minutes we let a few things slip.

"When you miss chances and still get four scores against a French side, you have to be pretty happy.

"After what happened that first weekend, to still be in the title race, it says a lot about this team.

"We've never used this many players in a championship before. We've never had to make so many early changes in a match or changes just before a match kick-off.

"From that perspective, it shows that we are building."

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