Jacob Alexander Stockdale, born on April 3, 1996, is a highly accomplished Northern Irish professional rugby union player known for his exceptional skills as a wing. He currently represents the United Rugby Championship club Ulster and is an integral part of the Ireland national team.
Stockdale's rugby journey began in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, before his family settled in Lurgan. From a young age, he idolized rugby legends Tommy Bowe and Jonah Lomu, drawing inspiration from their playing styles. He attended Wallace High School in Lisburn, where he initially played in the back row before transitioning to the center position. In his final year, Stockdale earned a place in the school's first team, displaying his talent and potential. His performances caught the attention of the Irish selectors, leading to his inclusion in the Ireland Schools and U18 teams. In recognition of his achievements, he was named Ulster Schools Player of the Year at the 2014 Ulster Rugby Awards.
Off the field, Stockdale's faith plays an important role in his life. As the son of a Presbyterian minister, he is a devout Christian and begins each game with a prayer.
Stockdale joined the Ulster academy ahead of the 2014-2015 season while pursuing a degree in criminology at Ulster University, Jordanstown. He made his senior debut for Ulster in January 2016, featuring in six matches, including five starts, during the 2015-2016 season. His performances caught the attention of the Ireland U20 selectors, leading to his inclusion in the squad for the 2016 U20 Six Nations and the U20 World Championship.
During the 2016-2017 season, Stockdale made significant strides in his career. He made 20 appearances for Ulster, including eight starts, and showcased his try-scoring ability by crossing the line nine times. His performances earned him the Ulster Young Player of the Year award.
In 2017-2018, Stockdale's talents blossomed further. He made 19 appearances for Ulster, scoring ten tries, and made his home debut for the Ireland national team in November 2017, scoring a try against South Africa. He continued his impressive form in the November series, securing the "man of the match" title and scoring two tries in Ireland's victory over Argentina. Stockdale's standout performances continued into the 2018 Six Nations Championship, where he set a tournament record by scoring seven tries, helping Ireland secure the Grand Slam title. His remarkable achievements earned him the Player of the Championship award. He was also recognized as the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year by Rugby Players Ireland and won the BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year in 2018.
In the following seasons, Stockdale's impact on the field remained significant. He continued to represent Ulster and was nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year in 2019. He scored notable tries, including one in Ireland's historic victory against the All Blacks on Irish soil. Stockdale's try-scoring prowess stood out, and he became the fastest northern hemisphere Tier 1 player in the professional era to reach 10 test tries, achieving this milestone in just eight appearances.
Stockdale's contributions to Irish rugby led to his inclusion in the Ireland squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where he earned 11 caps and scored three tries. He continued to represent both Ulster and Ireland in subsequent seasons, signing a three-year contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in February 2020, extending his commitment until the end of the 2022-2023 season.
Jacob Stockdale's skill, speed, and try-scoring ability have established him as one of the most exciting players in Irish rugby. His performances at both the club and international level have garnered recognition and accolades, and he continues to make a significant impact on the game.
|2015 - present|
|2022 - present|
|2015 - 2016|
|Wallace High School
|Belfast Harlequins RFC
|2017 - 2023|