Belfast Telegraph

Stockdale is backed to be an Ireland hit

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Jacob Stockdale will make his Ireland debut tonight with his former coach sure he is ready for the step up to Test rugby.

The winger will be starting for the national side against the USA Eagles in New Jersey (10pm kick-off BST).

"He's got that X-factor," said his schoolboy coach Derek Suffern. "He's got that confidence as well which has served him well.

"He's a big game player and he loves the big stage.

"It's brilliant to see him get the opportunity and it'll be really interesting to see how he goes."

Up first, there'll be plenty of players out to stake a claim for Test consideration when the Lions take on Crusaders this morning (8.35am kick-off BST) with 11 hopefuls making their first start of the trip.

None of the three Ulster players in Warren Gatland's touring party are involved as the Lions look to bounce back from Wednesday's defeat at the hands of the Blues.

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