After the shock loss to Japan, Jacob Stockdale turned to the more experienced players in the squad to help him deal with the disappointment.
While the Ulster winger has lost big games with Ireland before it is his first World Cup and wasn’t expecting disappointment so early on in the competition.
“I’ve experienced a few losses in an Ireland shirt now and they don’t get any easier, so they don’t.
“It wasn’t just incredibly disappointing for me because I suppose you don’t really expect to be feeling that way after your second Rugby World Cup game, you know? Or I wasn’t expecting to be anyway,” Stockdale explained.
Dealing with pressure
Stockdale, normally such a consistent performer for the side, was largely ineffective, along with most of his teammates in Shizuoka.
It was his fellow winger, Keith Earls, who was there to ease the young man’s worries after the gut-wrenching loss.
“I was chatting to Earlsy yesterday before the game [against Russia] and he was saying how much pressure they felt they were under in the 2015 World Cup.
“This time he was saying, ‘I’m just not letting the pressure get to me this time around. I’m just going out to enjoy my rugby.’ That’s what I took from the match [against Japan].
“You can get really wound up about not having the perfect performance and not playing the perfect game every week. That pressure can build up to the point where it takes control of you.
“Or else you can just go out and enjoy your rugby and play to the game plan that the coaches and leadership group have created,” Stockdale said.
While Ireland obviously experienced a massive setback against Japan there World Cup is far from over and they returned to winning ways against Russia.
Joe Schmidt will be hoping that Stockdale will have his head in the right place with a quarter-final against either New Zealand or South Africa on the horizon.
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