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Winger Jacob Stockdale has hit back at some of the criticism he received following Ireland’s record 57-15 defeat at Twickenham last Saturday week.
The Ulsterman’s defensive qualities were subjected to much critical analysis following the game after he appeared to break the line for two of England’s tries and he even suffered personal abuse on Twitter.
“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,” he said.
“Reading a few tweets gets you a bit rattled up and prepared for the next week. A lot of people 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.
“I suppose to a certain extent I was surprised by maybe how much I got because there were a few things I felt weren’t my fault.
“But, at the same time, it was one of my poorer performances in an Ireland shirt and in sport you’re going to get people who aren’t happy with how you played and that’s fair enough. Like I said, it gave me good motivation for last week to put in a good performance.
“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 a work-on with things I can do better. I did take a lot of learnings from that game as well.”
As regards the Twitter abuse, Stockdale revealed that they mainly concerned the length of his hair which he then got cut before scoring two tries in the 22-17 win over Wales in Cardiff last weekend. That took him to 16 tries in 21 international appearances, which already puts him among Ireland’s top ten all-time try scorers.
“I got a few very abusive messages, mainly about the hair actually,” he added.
“That wasn’t the reason I got it cut. I felt like a change, it actually had nothing to do with the rugby and what people were saying. I just kind of decided to. I lost about three or four kilos by getting it cut I’d say!
“In fairness as a winger you want to be scoring tries and I hadn’t scored I think since the Italy game in the Six Nations.
“It was important for me personally to get back on the scoresheet. I have to give Andrew Conway a fair bit of credit for that first one, I think that was pretty much his, fortunately I was there to finish it off. It was just nice to get over the whitewash again and get back on track.”
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