Stockdale looks to write another chapter against the All Blacks

Jacob Stockdale runs in a try 24/2/2019
Jacob Stockdale’s record against New Zealand reads played one, won one.

Jacob Stockdale’s record against New Zealand reads played one, won one.

On the surface, that should give the Ireland winger confidence when his team face the All Blacks in the World Cup quarter-finals next Saturday in Yokohama.

The 23-year-old scored the only try the last time the two teams met, Ireland running out 16-9 victors to record their first-ever success against the All Blacks on home soil.

The previous win against New Zealand famously came in Chicago in 2016, and while Stockdale was quick to point out that a World Cup quarter-final brings with it very different pressures, he does believe that maiden win over the All Blacks will help Ireland come next weekend.

“Obviously having gotten over that hump of being able to beat them in Chicago and then back in Dublin, it’s a massive positive,” he said. “But this is a World Cup, anything can happen. New Zealand have been going very well so it’ll be interesting to see.

“It’s about getting the recovery. They’re going to be well rested and for us it’s going to be making sure that we’re back on the pitch on Tuesday, doing everything we can to be as fresh as possible.”

Ireland finished second in Pool A behind Japan, having sealed their place in the last eight thanks to a 47-5 success over Samoa.

That win came despite the loss of Bundee Aki to a first-half red card, with Ireland adapting well to being a man down.

And Stockdale explained that defence coach Andy Farrell, who will take over from Joe Schmidt in the top job for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, has the team well-drilled to cope if they do lose a man.

He added: “We’ve actually trained quite a lot with 14 men. Andy Farrell, especially in defence, in the middle of the training session, he’ll poach two or three players and we just have to figure it out. Obviously from the training paddock right onto the pitch in the game, it’s really helped us out.”

“It was just about a few different organisational things, changing our plays up a wee bit to suit 14 men a little bit more, changing our defensive system. It wasn’t panic stations or anything like that because we’ve trained for it quite a bit.”

Clearly Ireland will want to avoid playing any time with a numerical disadvantage against the All Blacks, even if it did not seem to affect them in the Samoa clash.

For Stockdale, a prolific try-scorer on the international stage to this point, this World Cup has seen him go through something of a dry spell. He has just two tries – both in a warm-up victory over Wales – in his last seven Test appearances.

The Ulster flyer was not worried about that in the aftermath of the Samoa victory. If Ireland continue to rack up the victories but he is kept tryless, he will not mind one bit.

Realistically though, it may require another magic Stockdale moment to get the better of the reigning champions in Tokyo next weekend.