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'Hey, that's life': Stockdale rules out Six Nations with Ireland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Ireland 2018 Grand Slam star Jacob Stockdale has taken to social media to confirm he will miss the upcoming Guinness Six Nations with Ireland and is unlikely to return in time for Ulster before the end of the 2021/22 season. The 25-year-old shared a picture on Instagram of himself sitting on a hospital bed with crutches to help him get about the place following surgery on his left ankle. 

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It’s the latest injury setback in recent years for the Ireland winger in a career that soared to stratospheric heights when he burst on the scene in 2017/18 having made a Test debut in Japan in June 2017.     

Within less than a year, he was a Six Nations Grand Slam winner after scoring seven tries in five championship starts, a run he then went on to cap by scoring the decisive try in the November 2018 win over the All Blacks in Dublin. 

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The achievements kept on coming for the Ulster back who remained a first-choice pick for the 2019 and 2020 Six Nations as well as the World Cup in Japan. However, injury meant his only appearance in last year’s championship came in the round five win over England at the Aviva Stadium and the last of his 35 Test caps came in the July victory over Japan. His 19th Test level try came in that match.   

There has been just a single appearance with Ulster this season, a September start on the left wing versus Glasgow, and he has admitted following his latest setback that he will likely have to write off the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign for his province. 

“It’s been a really frustrating couple of months for me with this ankle as nothing has seemed to go right with it. But hey, that’s life…,” wrote Stockdale on Instagram. “Glad to have gotten the op now and hopefully puts me on the right track back to recovery! I’m gutted this probably means the end of my season but gives me an opportunity to come back fitter and stronger than ever.”

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An Ulster medical bulletin on Tuesday read: “Jacob Stockdale suffered a recent setback in the rehabilitation of his ankle injury and, following further consultation with his specialist, he underwent surgery on Monday of this week. He is not expected to play again this season.”

Confirmation that Stockdale won’t be available at any stage of the 2022 Six Nations – and also with Ulster until next season – arrived in a week where Ireland picked up two fresh injury concerns just last Sunday. James Ryan was a late cry-off with a hamstring issue for Leinster in their win over Montpellier while Tadhg Furlong exited that game after just five minutes with a calf problem.

Leinster issued an injury update on the pair on Tuesday afternoon. “James Ryan, originally named as captain for that contest, was removed from the line-up after picking up a hamstring injury in the captain’s run. He will be further assessed this week before a final decision is made on his involvement.

“Tadhg Furlong (calf) and Jordan Larmour (dead leg) picked up knocks during the game and will also be monitored further ahead of the trip to Bath.”

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