Jacob Stockdale on his two memorable chips in that All Blacks victory
The Ulster winger would have been forgiven for wondering if he would ever get to start against New Zealand.
While many of the senior Ireland squad were left behind at Carton House with Joe Schmidt, Stockdale was packing his bags and jetting off to Chicago. The All Blacks game was 'all people could talk about' heading into November but Stockdale joined the Possibles in the USA while the Probables remained in Kildare.
The 22-year-old really should not have worried. He started like a train, against Italy, at Soldier Field and was retained in the Starting XV for the Argentina and New Zealand games.
He was tipping along nicely against the world champions until he shot front and centre with two memorable chips. One nearly gifted a try to Kieran Read while the other resulted in a wonder try that effectively won the match.
Stockdale chatted with Andrew Trimble at Kingspan Stadium for Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby and spoke [from 2:00 below] about those two big moments in Ireland's victory.
Stockdale certainly enjoyed Trimble's analogy to that first chip - the one that Read blocked before knocking on and spurning a try-scoring chance - to the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors.
In the rom-com, Paltrow's character misses a train and the viewer gets to see how her life would have turned out had she actually made it.
"If Kieran Read had caught that ball," Trimble began, "do you think that would have massively changed the course of your life?"
JACOB: “I’d imagine so, yeah. I would imagine so. I’d say I would have got probably the same amount of messages after the game but people being like, ‘I hate you’.
ANDREW: “No way! Were you getting a hard time?”
JACOB: “No, I’m saying, like, if he had’ve caught it, like, do you know what I mean?”
ANDREW: “So you didn’t get any ‘I hate you messages’? Surely…”
JACOB: “No, no, no. No, no, no. They were all very complimentary.”
JACOB: “But, I’m saying, you were talking about the Sliding Doors thing, and saying… is it Sliding Doors, is that what it’s called?”
ANDREW: “Sliding Doors.”
JACOB: “Sliding Doors, yeah. Eh like, if he had’ve caught it, like, do you know what I mean? I’d say I would have had as many messages but with people tearing me to shreds, like, so, you know. There was a bit of poo running down the leg at the scrum afterwards, like!”
ANDREW: “Did someone say that you… I don’t know, I read this somewhere… did someone say you shouted ‘DROP IT!’ at him? Is that not right? Did I…”
JACOB: “No. That was taken out of, like, context I suppose. No, I didn’t, like…”
ANDREW: “What, did you shout ‘DON’T DROP IT!’”
JACOB: “CATCH IT!”
Stockdale did not allow his first, blocked chip to affect his confidence and, minutes later, unlocked the All Black's defence with a sublime chip, chase and try.
Beating New Zealand has seen Ireland backed heavily as a team to go far at next year's World Cup but Stockdale says the new expectations are nothing to be back away from. Typical of the player, and of this Irish team.
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