Schmidt hoping Sexton avoids off-the-ball hits

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt hopes France will not target Johnny Sexton off the ball in their Six Nations opener in Paris.

The Irish fly-half has been singled out by French sides in the past, but Schmidt doesn't expect a similar tactic on Saturday.

"It doesn't need to be part of the game," said Schmidt. "Johnny is a really tough competitor and he will take whatever is fairly doled out but when it comes off the ball I don't think it needs to be part of the game."

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