Stockdale hoping for return to Ireland XV after first replacement outing

The 24-year-old scored off the bench against England last weekend.

Stockdale scored his 18th Ireland try last weekend.
Stockdale scored his 18th Ireland try last weekend.

HE DIDN’T HAVE a huge amount to do in his 23 minutes off the bench last weekend as Ireland were beaten in Twickenham but Jacob Stockdale did at least manage to impact the game.

His 18th try for Ireland moved him up a notch on the all-time list into joint-seventh with Geordan Murphy, even if the score was more about Billy Burns’ delightful chip kick over the top of the advancing English defence.

The Ulster out-half judged his kick to perfection to allow Stockdale to sweep forward, gather it on the full and then show his athleticism to swerve past Dan Robson to finish.

“I had actually called for the ball, I had called a short [decoy] line because I thought we maybe had an opportunity to go wide against them,” explained Stockdale of how it came about.

“Billy just spotted a bit of space in the middle of the pitch and then he made the call for the chip.

“Obviously, because I was calling the hard line, I was kinda coming to the line with him anyway. It just worked out as perfect timing and he just popped it over.

“To be honest, when you are playing with Billy, he is a very talented footballer and you are always expecting those kicks. Whenever he calls those kicks, you are expecting them to be on the money.”

The game was gone for Ireland by the time Stockdale dotted down but he was at least content to impact on the game. 

“It’s hard to take personal satisfaction from a performance whenever the team loses but what I can take away from it is just that I was able to kind of imprint myself on the game, which is something you always want to do coming off the bench, so I was pretty happy with that,” said Stockdale.

“Obviously by the time I came on it was a very different game to what it was when the game started so, yeah, I was happy with my performance but it’s disappointing as a team to lose away from home.”

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jacob-stockdale-scores-a-try Stockdale will hope to have a chance for more tries against Georgia. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Last weekend was Stockdale’s first time coming off the bench for Ireland, with all of his previous 30 caps having been in the starting XV.

It meant a very different perspective as he had to watch on as England built up an 18-0 lead before he even got on the pitch.

“It was a bit of an arm wrestle,” said Stockdale. “Watching from the sideline, it was very physical and to be honest, the point of difference was probably the difference in our accuracy inside their 22, as opposed to their accuracy inside ours.

“I think that was pretty much the story of the game, but I thought the lads actually stood up pretty well, were real physical in their defence and offered a lot in attack. It’s disappointing.”

Stockdale – who missed the win over Wales with a calf issue – had a similar viewpoint to his head coach, Andy Farrell, and his team-mates in seeing this defeat as a chance for Ireland to get better.

“There’s a lot of new lads in the squad and we’re a fairly young team and it’s about the experience and learning from the game,” said Stockdale.

“So, yeah, the hardest part about playing England away is when you give them an early lead and we did that, so that’s something as a team we’re going to have to learn to do better and start better.”

Next up in the Autumn Nations Cup is a home game against Georgia on Sunday in Dublin, for which Farrell will likely make wholesale changes to his starting XV.

Stockdale hopes to get back in and add to his tally of 18 Ireland tries.

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