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'I let you down' - Stockdale apologises to Ulster fans for error against Leinster

The 22-year-old wing took to Instagram to underline that he has learned ‘the hard way.’

JACOB STOCKDALE CONTRIBUTED many moments of superb play yesterday as Ulster were beaten by Leinster in agonising fashion.

There were commanding aerial wins, a brilliant chip and regather, and his searing break in the build-up to his non-try.

But it is the missed chance, that failure to ground the ball after doing the hard work, that will be remembered above anything else from Stockdale in this defeat.

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Still only 22, Stockdale has already enjoyed stunning achievements in his burgeoning career – playing a prominent role in Ireland’s Grand Slam last year and scoring a brilliant try against the All Blacks – and it seems certain that there are more to come in the future.

The Ulster wing, however, has taken to Instagram today to apologise to Ulster fans for his error at the Aviva Stadium.

“I’ve had some incredible highs with Ulster rugby, but unfortunately yesterday was a low for me,” wrote Stockdale.

“Sport can be cruel and sometimes you have to learn your lessons the hard way.

“To the Ulster fans I just want to say I am sorry, I let you down, the support we had yesterday was truly amazing and you deserve to be looking forward to a European semi final.”

Stockdale’s error has been strongly criticised in some quarters, with Ireland and Leinster legend Brian O’Driscoll calling the failure to finish “unforgivable.”

Stockdale was around five metres beyond the tryline when he lost control of the ball as he attempted to touch it down one-handed.

Jacob Stockdale dejected after the game Stockdale was left devastated last night. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Interestingly, Stockdale has previously had a habit of running too far beyond the tryline before scoring.

Current Connacht attack coach Nigel Carolan was Stockdale’s head coach at Ireland U20 level. In an interview with The42 last year, Carolan said: 

“As a coach, he gave us the odd heart failure when he was scoring. It’s not a question of actually scoring but his technicalities of scoring and dropping his body when he’s going over the line.

“He could run the ball past defenders in the in-goal area or on the line he could still be upright. He might score the try two metres into the in-goal zone rather than on the line.”

Stockdale’s mistake yesterday came with Ulster already in a 13-11 lead in the 45th minute and might have seen Dan McFarland’s side move into control of a game that continued to seesaw afterwards. 

Ulster did get back to 18-18 with a try from Luke Marshall in the 64th minute but Ross Byrne’s penalty handed Leinster their winning margin in a remarkable Champions Cup quarter-final.

Stockdale will now look forward to getting back out onto the pitch with Ulster as they bid to wrap up a play-off place in the Pro14, while the World Cup awaits with Ireland later this year.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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