Jacob Stockdale is a rising star in Irish Rugby. Aged 24, he already has thirty caps to his name, and rugby is in his blood. His father and grandfather played, and he told me: ‘I started playing mini rugby when I was about four or five and I have never stopped playing!’ He progressed from a local club to professional rugby with Ulster. It was all a smooth and easy progression: ‘When I signed for Ulster I went into the academy. In terms of helping people to transition from school into senior rugby, the academy is pretty perfect. You learn how to be a professional athlete, how to gym properly, how to eat properly and that sort of thing. They certainly give you every opportunity so that you’re definitely ready to play senior rugby when the opportunity arises.’
The smooth progression continued when he was given his first cap for Ireland in 2017, in New York of all places. His main memory of the game is a surprising one: ‘The one thing that absolutely stands out is that it was absolutely...
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