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"He looked his age" | Keith Wood on Jacob Stockdale's England error

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

19:11 24 Feb 2020


Keith Wood believes that Jacob Stockdale may require time out of the Ireland team to recover his form and that Sexton's form mirrors the side's performance.

Speaking on Monday Night Rugby, Wood believes that the Ulster winger was at fault for Elliott Daly's try - England's second of a disappointing first half for Ireland.

To contextualise, Wood said that Stockdale's indecision is partly a product of opposition teams knowing how to play against a side at its peak in 2018.

"Stockdale gets turned a lot now - he wasn't turned a lot in 2018.

"He was learning to defend in white-hot international games. I think what he did in 2018 was remarkable.

"His second season in 2019 was difficult for him; he was making lots of the same mistakes but he wasn't getting the latitude that he was in 2018.

"I think it is a hard lesson to him. He seemed over-anxious yesterday, he seemed to over-run the ball a lot.

"I felt he wished the ball to go out instead of sprinting to catch it. He left the ball to bounce when you never leave a ball to bounce, if you can help it."

Wood was clear that the future is still bright for Stockdale, but he may not start the next match against Italy.

"[It] is a really hard lesson for him to learn and it might mean a week or two on the sidelines for him to get his head back again.

"His ascension to the top of the game was exceptionally sharp, but you can fall down just as quickly. He needs to tidy up elements of his game.

"I felt it was a very hard game for him - he looked a little bit lost.

"He looked his age."

Sexton form

Wood spoke of confidence within the Ireland squad being low after a match against an organised English defence.

Sexton's performance yesterday merely compounded worries about the state of Ireland's nascent development under Andy Farrell.

"Our 10 had his worst game in an Irish jersey, he played poorly yesterday.

"Everything he did put him under increased pressure. That is very tough, in that instance.

"I don't know that you can say that there is a solution [to the team's self-confidence.]

"Whether we say that the guys were jaded last year, we have to say that this isn't an extension of it.

"We have to say that this is a new coach that has come in, who has not made wholesale changes.

"He's looked at the team where he has been part of the coaching panel and he trusts some of them to do it.

"He trusted them for the first two matches and they repaid his trust.

"It becomes different now because you have to say that against a team that blocks us, we are at sea and we need to have solutions to that.

"We didn't have any solutions yesterday."

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Jacob Stockdale Johnny Sexton Rugby Rugby Union Sexton Stockdale

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