Has Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale Just Played Himself Into Joe Schmidt’s Autumn Test Squad?

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Antrim , United Kingdom - 13 October 2017; Jacob Stockdale of Ulster after the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 1 match between Ulster and Wasps at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale put in a memorable shift against Wasps at the Kingspan on Friday night.

The winger scored a try and turned provider for Stuart McCloskey’s score in the 19-9 Champions Cup winning opener.

His man-of-the-match display might just have caught the eye of Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. With the November internationals looming, he could well be rewarded with a place in the squad.

Memorable night for Jacob Stockdale

The opening half didn’t entertain as most had anctipated and the 6-3 score line certainly reflected that.

But there were moments of brilliance and an incredible Stockdale line break should have resulted in Ulster’s first try.

The second fourty was when he really showed his worth. Alongside Charles Piutau, the 21-year old pressurized Wasps’ Christian Wade into a shocking submission. Very few have kept Wade quiet this season, but Stockdale did it in fine fashion.

It was only fitting then that Stockdale scored Ulster’s first try. Piutau’s pass, that pre-empted Wade’s defense, gave all the space Stockdale needed to dive over.

The winger was electric all night and produced the assist that allowed McCloskey to power over for Ulster’s second try. A sublime one-handed offload to McCloskey further underlined his credentials as arguably one of Ireland’s best wingers at present.

 

Impressive Attacking Stats

Stockdale’s attacking stats proved to be one of the talking points after the game.

Thirteen carries, sixty-six meters gained, four clean line breaks and five defenders beaten – a great night’s work for the Ulsterman.

Ireland head coach Schmidt has made no secret of the fact that he wants wingers with the whole package.

Stockdale proved on Friday night that he is a composed defender as he is clinical in attack. If the winger can replicate his performance in round two at La Rochelle on Sunday, then just rewards will certainly be coming his way.

Ahead of the trip to France, Schmidt will have undoubtedly taken note of Stockdale. Both he and Munster’s Keith Earls have the looked the in-form wingers and it wouldn’t be surprising if they both line up against South Africa on 11 November.

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