Saturday 21 September 2019

Generation game - Stockdale's family bask in the glory of victory over the All Blacks at his first try

Happy family: Jacob Stockdale said on Instagram the game was the first rugby match his granny Jean has ever been to
Happy family: Jacob Stockdale said on Instagram the game was the first rugby match his granny Jean has ever been to

Cormac Byrne

Jacob Stockdale's father and grandparents were in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday to see the Ulster winger score his 12th Ireland try in 14 internationals in spectacular form.

The 22-year-old has taken the rugby world by storm since his debut on the tour of the United States in 2017.

Stockdale was watching at home on TV when Ireland registered their first-ever win over New Zealand, the 40-29 victory in Chicago in 2016 that was 111 years in the making.

But he was in the thick of the action as they took the All Blacks's scalp for the second time.

His second-half try proved to be decisive, and his meteoric rise is beyond the expectations of his proud dad, Rev Graham Stockdale.

"I thought that the Grand Slam match against England, we would never top that because that was a very special moment, but Saturday went a notch higher," he said on the BBC's 'Good Morning Ulster'.

"I took my dad down to the match and the two of us were sitting in the VIP seats with all the players' families around us so there was just incredible high fives, hugging, cheering - just such an outbreak of emotion. We never anticipated that Jacob would be able to do what he does in such a short period of time.

"I suppose the key thing is being part of a pretty special team. I think the best Ireland has ever had."

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Stockdale's magical night could all have been so different had New Zealand captain Kieran Read not knocked on with the line at his mercy.

Just minutes later Ireland stunned the All Blacks with a classic set play from head coach Joe Schmidt.

"I was screaming 'drop it' and he did, so he must have been listening to me," said Stockdale, recounting Read's charge-down.

"Those kind of things are a bit of a risk - sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don't.

"That one didn't and I suppose I got a bit lucky.

"This win means everything. There have been 113 years of guys who have played at Lansdowne Road or the Aviva and have failed to beat them. For me to do that on my first attempt is very special."

More than one million people watched the last few minutes of Ireland's thrilling win on Saturday night. Figures released by RTÉ show an average audience of 883,700 tuned in to RTÉ 2 for the match.

The number of viewers increased to more than one million at the very end of the game. Meanwhile on the RTÉ Player there were more than 135,000 streams to the match at the weekend, 93,800 on Saturday and another 43,500 on Sunday as people relived the glory. The average figure is just ahead of this year's All-Ireland hurling final which saw Limerick beat Galway.

Some 846,100 viewers tuned in on average, with more than a million tuning into see the nail-biting last few moments.

Last year's 'Late, Late Toy Show' attracted an average of 1.2 million viewers - a similar figure is expected for this year's show on Friday week.

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