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Stockdale accepts 'basic' errors, but working to shut out criticism

‘When your mates are texting you saying ‘Are you alright?’, you kind of know that you are getting destroyed on social media.’

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

JACOB STOCKDALE ADMITS he fell short of the required standard in basic skills during Ireland’s loss to France on Saturday.

The Ulster star was deployed for his second Test start as a fullback in Paris and was culpable of some high-profile errors that led to crucial scores for Les Bleus.

“I felt like the basic parts of my game probably let me down,” said Stockdale as he stepped forward for a virtual press conference as an ambassador for Maxol and their Aware Christmas fundraiser which aims to raise €70,000 for the charity.

“I did some stuff pretty well and then just not holding onto the ball properly, not making the right decision at the right times – that kind of basic bread and butter stuff that maybe you take for granted the odd time.”

In the aftermath of Saturday’s loss, Stockdale’s errors have attracted understandable scrutiny and theories have flown about their root cause. Perhaps a lack of confidence, maybe over-confidence or a shortfall of concentration.

Analysis>> Stockdale shows kicking quality but errors prove costly on tough night in Paris

The condition of the ball is not a factor lightly thrown aside.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of concentration or anything like that,” says the 24-year-old.

“The ball was very greasy, probably surprisingly greasy. Maybe that was something that I hadn’t necessarily prepared for properly. There are a number of different factors.

“Sometimes the ball can take a real awkward bounce all of a sudden and sometimes it feels a bit unfair. But look, at the end of day, I rate myself as being able to make sure that I can deal with that sort of stuff and I didn’t, which is the disappointing part for me.”

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He adds: “Unfortunately you probably take a bit more flak at full-back because you have a bit more work to do. But that’s the nature of the job – it’s the nature of being in a professional sports environment.

“I am happy to take that on the chin and admit that I am not, by and away the finished product at 15 yet. I am still learning the role and learning the position. But I am trying to get better.”

sd1iR38g Jacob Stockdale launches Maxol Aware Christmas fundraiser. 10c from every Rosa coffee will go to the mental health charity.

Appearing in order to highlight a mental health charity such as Aware, the criticism and its nature is worth speaking about longer here. Stockdale has recently made an effort to actively shut out the ‘noise’ and highlight to advice coming from a tighter group of coaches, players and confidants.

However, though he may keep the seal tight, news filters through.

“Funnily enough, when your mates are texting you saying ‘Are you alright?’, you kind of know that you are getting destroyed on social media anyway.”

“But you are going to have arm-chair pundits, you are going to have fans who aren’t happy with the game. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of it.”

And the Ulster man is finding that the scrutiny becomes all the more intense for as a developing fullback than when he was stationed on the wing.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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