It was quite unfamiliar territory for Jacob Stockdale in the aftermath of Ireland’s record loss to England at Twickenham.
Not only were Joe Schmidt’s side poor across the board, but Stockdale, in particular, came in for criticism due to his defensive performance which saw his side concede eight tries.
Stockdale made some poor defensive reads during that match but he was often left in unenvious positions due to mistakes that were already made inside him.
Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the critics sharpening their knives on social media and in the column inches.
The 23-year-old Lurgan native was glad to get another opportunity to right those wrongs a week later in Cardiff.
“To be honest, it (Wales) was a really important game for me, probably just to shut a few people up more than anything,” Stockdale said this week.
“It was really important for me to get out there and put in a good performance, get Twickenham out of the system a wee bit. I didn’t ask Joe (Schmidt) to play or anything but I was really grateful he gave me the opportunity for a second week in a row and gave me the chance to go out and actually put a few wrongs right.”
Stockdale admits that the criticism aimed in his direction annoyed him and that he seeks out both good and bad comments about his performances as the latter of which fuels his desire to prove people wrong.
“To be honest, I’d say a lot of the criticism quite annoyed me because I felt a lot of it was quite unfair but, at the same time, it probably gave me a lot of good motivation. Reading a few tweets gets you a bit rattled up and prepared for the next week. A lot of them say you shouldn’t read stuff but I do.
“I read the good stuff and the bad stuff because the good stuff is nice to see people saying nice things about you and the bad stuff gives me a lot of motivation to prove people wrong. It was really important for me.”
Stockdale is happy with his defensive performance against Wales and he reveals that constant communication with defence coach Andy Farrell is key to continued improvement.
“Obviously whenever everything goes wrong inside you, it’s usually the winger that has to try and solve the problem.
“When you don’t get it completely right and I am not saying I wasn’t at fault for any of the tries in the England game. I could have read it better or earlier or probably hit Jonny May man and ball from the scrum, but I just missed it by about half a second. That can happen.
“Andy Farrell was brilliant. He went through each individual thing with me. He did say ‘this was my fault, that wasn’t my fault’. But he also did give me work-ons with things I can do better. I did take a lot of learnings from that game as well.”