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Perfect match: Ulster star Jacob Stockdale gets engaged to old school friend

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Jacob Stockdale with fiancee Hannah Garrett

Jacob Stockdale with fiancee Hannah Garrett

Jacob Stockdale playing for Ulster Rugby team

Jacob Stockdale playing for Ulster Rugby team

�INPHO/Billy Stickland

Jacob Stockdale with fiancee Hannah Garrett

Ireland and Ulster Rugby star Jacob Stockdale has announced his engagement to his girlfriend Hannah Garrett.

The 24-year-old winger from Lurgan broke the news of the engagement on Instagram, with the happy couple posting a smiling picture during a beach walk.

Commenting on the post, he said: "Didn't think when I met her in 2007 at Wallace High School I'd one day be asking her to be my wife!

"But I'm so happy I met her and I couldn't think of a better person to spend the rest of my life with."

 

Preferring to keep things low key, the rugby star told the Belfast Telegraph he would be keeping further details on the proposal and any plans for the big day under wraps for now.

Team mates from the Ireland side were quick to congratulate the newly-engaged couple on Instagram, including Josh van der Flier, Joey Carberry, Bundee Aki and Jack Conan.

I make an effort but it doesn't come naturally to me, unfortunately.

The celebrations come after Stockdale admitted last year that dating while in the public eye hadn't always been easy.

"It is quite difficult and you're always worried about girls only liking you because you play rugby. They are pretty easy to suss out though, you get used to it," he told RSVP.

He also admitted that being romantic hasn't always been his strongest quality.

"I make an effort but it doesn't come naturally to me, unfortunately."

He had previously been in a two-and-a-half year relationship with Queen's University student Jessica Gardner before splitting in 2018.

After Covid-19 paused the Six Nations earlier this year, Stockdale will now face fresh competition for a starting spot with the signing of Kiwi James Lowe.

This will only be increased with the recent confirmation that the Lions tour in South Africa will still be able to go ahead next year.

With Ulster resuming light training in recent weeks, Stockdale admitted he used the three month gap to re-watch every one of his matches with Ulster and Ireland.

"It's probably a bit sad to admit that, but it's something that I wanted to do just to see how I'd played," he told the BBC.

"It was really nice to look back at the games and realise the learning points that I've made over the course of my career so far."

As well as reliving his career highlights, he also shared in May that lockdown has allowed him to indulge in his love of classic cars by attempting to restore a 1966 Mustang he bought on eBay.

At the height of the pandemic restrictions he also took part in a phone-a-friend campaign with the mental health charity Aware.

"I had my girlfriend around during lockdown, but I have friends who had to isolate by themselves for 10 weeks and it can be a struggle and a difficult time, especially if you are living with depression or any mental illness," he said at the time.

Belfast Telegraph