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Highlights on Off The Ball


Sexton backs Stockdale to recover from Parisian nightmare

Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton is confident Jacob Stockdale will bounce back from his performanc...

Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton is confident Jacob Stockdale will bounce back from his performance in Paris. 

A number of high-profile errors from the Ulster winger-turned-full-back cost Ireland dear as their hopes of a Six Nations championship slipped through his fingers.

Ireland begin the road to atonement on Friday night, as they face Wales in their first game of the new Autumn Nations Cup.

Sexton says he's been playing a captain's role with Stockdale in the lead-in to the game at the Aviva, "I spoke to Jacob a couple of days ago, and he's been in good form.

"Obviously last week was tough for a lot of guys - for everyone really - you go into a big game and we don't perform as a team to the level that we wanted.

"It was a tough week last week, guys were down. But the guys have bounced back really well.

"He's a great guy, Jacob, and he knows that some of the mistakes that he made on the day... there was one time he made a great line break and the ball just slipped out of his hands. It was a bar of soap.

"Another one where it's fired at his feet and knocked on... those type of things, he'll get them the next day.

"And we just need him to keep being himself, because you saw what he can do against Italy.

"You've seen what he can do - especially at full-back - over the season with Ulster. And even I remember a couple of years ago playing a quarter-final against Leinster he was probably the best player on the pitch that day - outstanding in the air, attacking.

"He's kept his confidence, I think, and we're looking forward to seeing his best on Friday night.

Despite his confidence in Stockdale's powers of recovery, Sexton admits it's been tricky - as a group - to lift themselves following the 8-point defeat to France.

"That's where the challenge has been through the week, drawing a line under the Six Nations," the Leinster out-half said.

"Realising that, look obviously the new coaching team was assembled at the start of the year. We've had a Six Nations together and we finished third. And that's basically what we've just said.

"We've lots of areas that we need to improve, but also we took some positives: that we're not that far away, we created a lot of chances in the last game, especially, and we need to start capitalising.

"But realistically, we finished third - that's the bottom line - and we've got to improve, and that's what we've tried to do all week"

Monday Night Rugby | Defeat in Paris, Sexton importance, Stockdale confidence

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Autumn Nations Cup France Ireland Jacob Stockdale Jonathan Sexton Sexton Six Nations Stockdale Wales