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'Incredible' Jacob Stockdale signs new contract at Ulster Rugby

By Gareth Hanna

Jacob Stockdale has a signed a new deal to remain at Ulster Rugby until summer 2020.

The winger has scored 17 tries in his 37 Ulster appearances so far and has notched eight in 13 games this season.

He has carried that form to international level, scoring six tries in as many games for Ireland.

"As a young lad from Ulster, I've grown up watching the club and to get to pull on the white jersey is an honour for me," said Stockdale.

"I've been fortunate enough to play with some really top class players and learn from them, as well as play with guys that I have been friends with for a long time.

"Hopefully I can continue to improve at Ulster and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a team over the next few seasons."

Understandably, Ulster are just as glad that the talented 21-year-old is staying on. Operations Director Bryn Cunningham hailed both Stockdale's physical and mental characteristics as reasons for his success so far.

"Jacob's rise has been incredible," Cunningham said. "He was earmarked as a future international from a young age and the excellent coaching that he received at Wallace High School, Queen's University RFC and Ballynahinch RFC have helped him successfully step up into our Academy and ultimately the professional game.

"At 6 foot, 3 inches and 16 stone, he has a real physical presence on the wing, but he also has pace to burn and great skills, including a strong kicking game.

"In addition to this superb natural ability, he works extremely hard to improve all aspects of his game, and with his future now secure, he can focus on continuing his development."

Stockdale grew up playing mini-rugby at Ballynahinch RFC, where he is now back on the books.

In between, he played schools' rugby for Wallace HS, who exited this year's Schools' Cup at the hands of Armagh Royal last weekend, and then played club rugby for Queen's University after joining the Ulster Academy in 2014.

Stockdale will look to add to his six international tries when he takes to the Aviva Stadium pitch against Wales on Saturday afternoon.

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