Jacob Stockdale to be unleashed as Ulster target win over Ospreys

Stockdale hoping to hit the ground running in order to secure Six Nations place

 Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale will return Pro14 action against   Ospreys. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale will return Pro14 action against Ospreys. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Ulster v Ospreys  
Kingspan stadium, 8pm eir sport 2

Time heals all wounds. As Munster finally wrap Joey Carbery in red, rather than opposed to cotton wool, Ulster coach Dan McFarland must be delighted to unleash Jacob Stockdale upon the Pro14 once again.

The sight of an unbridled Robert Baloucoune would also be welcome by anyone who likes sport. The winger was sprinting towards the international stage until a terrible hamstring injury. Following a painstaking rehabilitation, he sits in reserve.

Stockdale suffered a slightly smaller tear of the same muscle but it threatens to ruin his fourth Six Nations campaign. Unless he hits the ground running here. Michael Lowry is another man making real strides at this level, but it is the bench, rather than the starting XV led by Jordi Murphy, that offers the most interesting prospect.

Debut

With former Ulster academy lock Jack Regan making his Super Rugby debut for the Otago Highlanders this weekend, the next long-fellow off the rank is Cormac Izuchukwu. The London born, Ireland Sevens international still has to muscle past Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell.

Incidentally, Treadwell wins his 100th cap for Ulster, but that is assisted by the 25-year-old not being recalled to the top tier since making his debut in 2017. With club captain Iain Henderson busy keeping Ryan Baird at arm’s length in Ireland camp, opportunity knocks for Izuchukwu.

If that does not pique your curiosity, tune in to watch James Hume and John Cooney. Both are in exceptional form.

Ulster: Michael Lowry; Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Marty Moore; Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell; Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy (capt), Nick Timoney. Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Cormac Izuchukwu, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Matt Faddes, Robert Baloucoune.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Keelan Giles, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Keiran Williams, Luke Morgan; Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb (capt); Gareth Thomas, Sam Parry, Tom Botha; Lloyd Ashley, Rhys Davies; Will Griffiths, Olly Cracknell, Morgan Morris. Replacements: Ifan Phillips, Nicky Smith, Ma’afu Fia, Gareth Evans, Sam Cross, Shaun Venter, Joe Hawkins, Luke Price.

Referee: S Gallagher (IRFU).

Verdict: Ulster win.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.