Jacob Stockdale: Ulster coach Dan McFarland takes heat away from winger's try scoring blunder

Jacob Stockdale was scoring tries for fun for Ulster and Ireland last season - he should have added to this season's tally on Saturday in Dublin, but the flying winger uncharacteristically dropped the ball attempting to dot it down.

Sunday, 31st March 2019, 12:54 am
Updated Sunday, 31st March 2019, 3:01 am
A dejected Jacob Stockdale leaves the field after Leinster defeated Ulster in European Champions Cup quarter-final tie

It came as a crucial point of the game as Ulster led Leinster 13-11 early in the second half of an enthralling European Champions Cup tie.

The winger had done all the hard work in beating the Leinster defence but that last crucial act failed him. Leinster then went up the pitch and scoring a try to go 18-13 ahead and eventually they booked a semi-final spot 21-18.

Rather than identifying Stockdale's blunder as a turning point in the game, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland focused on other areas that contributed to their eventual exit from the tournament.

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

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

"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."