Belfast Telegraph

Ronan O'Gara uses experience of his Twickenham nightmare to offer Jacob Stockdale some sage advice

Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara

Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara has backed Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale to bounce back from his high profile error at the Aviva on Saturday evening and offered some advice from his own experience of malfunctioning on the big stage.

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Stockdale dropped a would-be try in his side's 21-18 Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to rivals Leinster on Saturday after slicing past three defenders, a big moment in the game that drew plenty of criticism from pundits.

O'Gara likened the mistake to his kicking woes in the Heineken Cup final in 2000 when he failed with four efforts at the post in Munster's narrow defeat to Northampton.

Speaking on Off The Ball AM this morning, O'Gara outlined the advice he would give the 22-year-old.

"He's going to have to get himself a routine, the same as what happened to myself after Twickenham in 2000 when, in hindsight, you learn a brutal lesson but you wish it didn't have such a heavy consequence. 9-8 beaten in a final, scored zero points, kicked zero out of four in a high-pressure game which ultimately deprived great teammates of a Heineken Cup medal," he said.

"You can go one of two ways, as a kicker it's probably a bit different. For me, I got great advice from Keith Wood that pressure might strike again but it might hit you once a season and you can brush it under the carpet or you can take the lessons out of it.

"Basically you've got to have a technique that's bulletproof that you can call on because you can get away with it in the pool stages, you can get away with it in a quarter-final but ultimately, Jacob didn't get away with it in this game.

"I don't think it cost Ulster the game, there would have been a response from Leinster. It's midway through a competitive game where Leinster were tested but were they that tested? We don't know.

"They finished out the game comfortably.

"I know for a fact that there wasn't any showboating. I think he did 99 out of 100 things right and he lost it at the final placement which, at that speed, I forgive him. I think it can happen to anyone, I would say move on."


From Belfast Telegraph