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'Bullying the bully' | Jacob Stockdale on that All Blacks night at the AVIVA

Jacob Stockdale's try was one of the stand-out moments from the incredible win over the All Black...

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

09:19 27 May 2020



'Bullying the bully' | Jacob S...
Rugby

'Bullying the bully' | Jacob Stockdale on that All Blacks night at the AVIVA

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

09:19 27 May 2020

Jacob Stockdale's try was one of the stand-out moments from the incredible win over the All Blacks in Dublin in November 2018.

The only try of the game led to a first win on home soil for Ireland over New Zealand, and it's a moment that is featuring strongly in our polls this week to choose the 'Greatest AVIVA Moment' of the last decade.

The 24-year-old Ulster star spoke with Eoin Sheahan about the incredible atmosphere in the AVIVA Stadium on that night a year and a half ago.

"The AVIVA is quite a special stadium in the sense that it's not necessarily the biggest in comparison to somewhere like Twickenham or the Stade de France, but the noise that can be generated in that stadium is incredible.

"That night, it really went to the next level. Every time you caught a high ball the hairs on your neck were standing up because of the noise of the crowd.

"You felt like you were hitting a rock and people were going wild. On that night, I think mainly because the game had been talked up so much... like I remember the first game of the season with Ulster, afterwards in an interview they were like 'Well, what about this game against New Zealand in November?'

"That's about three months away! But people were just ready for it, when it finally came around people were just so worked up about it, that's where the noise came from."

Stockdale added that the previous gut-wrenching defeat in Dublin and then victory in Chicago set the 2018 Test up perfectly - even though for him personally it was his first time taking on the All Blacks.

"That was my first time playing them, so I was just focusing on my game and trying to have as good a performance as I could in what was probably the biggest game of my life up to that point.

17 November 2018; Jacob Stockdale of Ireland after the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and New Zealand at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"I think the reason the guys were so up for it was the hurt they had experienced in Dublin before when New Zealand pulled it off in the last play.

"In Chicago it made the team realise they could beat them and they could put in those massive performances. It was probably a bit of both - a bit of hurt from the last time in Dublin, and a bit of confidence from Chicago.

"Going into it Joe [Schmidt] talked about bullying the bully, and picking out certain players in their squad who were their 'enforcers'. We had to ensure we were all over them and they didn't get a break the entire game. I think in hindsight it was a gameplan that worked brilliantly.

"Brodie [Retallick] was definitely one [of the enforcers]. Just his physicality, if you watch him play he's the kind of guy that does beat people up a little bit and he does it brilliantly. He was definitely one - the intention was to go after him."

Aviva Ireland has been a proud sponsor of the Aviva Stadium for 10 years. 4. Since 2010, over 7.2 million fans from around the world have attended matches at the Aviva Stadium. We’re encouraging fans to tell us your favourite moments from the iconic venue by following Aviva Ireland on Instagram and Twitter and sharing them using #SafeToDream

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#SafeToDream All Blacks Aviva Ireland Aviva Stadium Eoin Sheahan Jacob Stockdale New Zealand Off The Ball Otb Am Rugby Ulster

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