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Published: 10:22 | 14/2/16

Toner proud of Ireland's discipline

Devin Toner says the Ireland players were tempted to respond to France's targeting of Jonny Sexton during the 10-9 Six Nations defeat in Paris on Saturday.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said Sexton had been "pretty knocked around" by the French after the Leinster fly-half was forced off in the 69th minute of the match at the Stade de France.

Leinster and Ireland second row Toner says he and his team-mates thought about protecting Sexton by dishing out some rough treatment of their own, but opted to play fair.

"The temptation is always there, but we pride ourselves on our discipline,” he said.

“We pride ourselves that we can rise above it. The referee knows we're a well-disciplined team. If we react, there are cameras out there to see it. We're not that sort of team to be honest."

Defending champions Ireland are without a win from their opening two matches following last weekend’s draw with Wales in Dublin, but Toner insists that a tight six-day turnaround is not to blame for Saturday’s defeat to Guy Noves’ team.

"We're not going to look for excuses," Toner added.

"We've been looked after us very well this week in training. We were all on top of our recovery and we all prepared well. It's not something we can make excuses about."

Irish captain Rory Best feels his side wasted a great opportunity to record back-to-back wins against the French for the first time since 1927, after Maxime Medard's late try and Jules Plisson's conversion handed the home side the victory.

"It was definitely a massive opportunity for us that we'll be very disappointed we weren't able to take, to push on and win that game.

"We know we had chances. When we look back at it later in the week we'll be really disappointed. We'll look in the second half on how we allowed our boys to get isolated at times."

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