Dan McFarland refuses to blame Jacob Stockdale for Ulster loss 2 months ago

Dan McFarland refuses to blame Jacob Stockdale for Ulster loss

Ulster Rugby head coach Dan McFarland has refused to blame Jacob Stockdale for his side's 21-18 loss to Leinster on Saturday.

Stockdale bombed a certain try in the second-half after rounding the defence, stepping inside Jordan Larmour and powering his way towards the line.

However, once he crossed the whitewash he failed to touch the ball down with referee Roman Poite deferring to the TMO who ruled no try in Leinster's favour.

Former Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll said that the mistake was unforgivable but McFarland insisted otherwise.

"I know what you want me to say and I'm not going to say that," said McFarland after the match.

"I was asked four times about Jacob dropping the ball over the line. My answer is: there are not many people in the world who could beat that many players, to even get in the position to put the ball down. I'm proud of Jacob, he played a great game, did a lot of really good things."

McFarland added that Stockdale was very disappointed but highlighted that there were a lot of small mistakes that went wrong for Ulster in what was their first Champions Cup quarter-final appearance since 2014.

"He's disappointed, but that's not the reason we lost the game," added McFarland.

"I'd say the key points in the first half were: our collision work, contact work wasn't good enough. That's on me, I'm the coach of that area.

"Leinster stole balls of us, we couldn't get our attack into the rhythm - when we did we showed really good glimpses.

"He's really disappointed. I said the same thing as I said to you, only one reason he was disappointed is because he was able to get into that position.

"There aren't many who are able to do that. Things like that happen. it's probably three millimetres off his finger.

"It's a small thing, but there are so many other small things that could have sent the game in other directions."