Jacob Stockdale needs to work on crucial areas of his game before he starts for Ireland again, according to Alan Quinlan.
The former Ireland international was speaking on Monday’s OTB AM and argued that dropping the young Ulsterman for the moment could be beneficial for his game.
“There are issues about his defence and timing and coming out of the line and his reading in defence. His contest in the air is non-existent for me - for a big guy who’s very tall and strong.
“Someone like Dave Kearney on Saturday - who wouldn’t be as talented as Stockdale - you watch the work rate, the aggressive nature in how he defends, the counter rucking, the carries, the physicality - Jacob Stockdale needs to find that part of his game.
“He has an ability to be world-class so I’m not knocking him, he is an incredible talent. But box kicks put up in the air and he’s meandering along - he’s got to get up in the air and win that and dominate in the air.
“He’s got to be aggressive with his carries when the contact happens. He’s got to read [the game]. So they’re the issues and he’s still a very young player. So it’s how Andy Farrell manages that.”
“At the moment I would probably drop him because I think Keith Earls is probably your other winger, isn't he?” Quinlan commented.
'We can't mollycoddle these players'
The former flanker explained that when he was a young player he was dropped for a crucial game with Munster.
Rather than letting it destroy his confidence and derail his career, the flanker came back stronger to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.
“I was dropped several times. I was dropped for a quarter-final in the European Cup in 2000 where I played in the six pool games.
“I was absolutely devastated and I probably sulked for a while because it was my first major disappointment around selection that had happened. The following year I’m on the Irish team.
“So it does make you and it does bring you back and make you stronger. The reality is we can’t mollycoddle these players either.
“I’m not mollycoddling any of them saying, ‘Well, you can’t drop Jacob Stockdale because you’re dropping Peter O’Mahony or CJ Stander or Iain Henderson.' You know, Iain Henderson didn’t perform in that tournament as well.
“Maybe with some of the older ones there’s a danger that you could put them out to grass in the sense but young players need to go through that a little bit,” Quinlan said.