Stockdale: I’m playing better than in 2018

“I am really happy with where my game is at right now.”

“I am really happy with where my game is at right now.”

As Ireland prepare for the huge clash at Twickenham on Sunday Jacob Stockdale is feeling more confident than ever about his abilities on the wing.

The giant 23-year-old enjoyed a record-breaking season back in 2018 with seven Championship tries, but is convinced he’s playing better all-round rugby now despite not scoring in his last six for Ireland.

“I think I am playing better rugby than I was in 2018,” commented the Ulster wing.

“I am enjoying myself a lot more, I am more solid defensively, I am getting my hands on the ball a lot more than I did in the 2018 Six Nations.”

Stockdale is without a doubt one of the best wingers in the Championship but is yet to score a try for Ireland this year heading into the all-important fixture against England.

He continued: “Every winger knows you are going to experience dry spots, times where passes don’t get thrown to you, where you don’t get the walk-ins that a winger needs to feed off every now and again.

“It just happens to be that the tries aren’t coming my way.

“I am really happy with my game at the moment, I am really enjoying my rugby. Hopefully a couple of tries will come my way in the next few weeks.”

Stockdale was also quick to praise Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell, who has been helping the squad with their preparations for round three.

Many believe O’Connell has had a massive impact on the team and is seen as a key factor in their brilliant performances so far in the Guinness Six Nations.

“I haven’t chatted to him an awful lot but it’s clear the respect he’s been getting around the camp,” added Stockdale. “It’s been brilliant to have him about; he’s been having a bit of a chat with the lads and enjoying himself, so it’s been good.”

Ireland have won both of their opening two games against Scotland and Wales as they look to emulate their Grand Slam success from 2018.

“Looking at the first two rounds things have been going pretty well. We still have to get that 100% knowing where each other is, but we are definitely getting there.”