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Jacob Stockdale Nearly Quit Rugby Because He Was Too Small

Jacob Stockdale Nearly Quit Rugby Because He Was Too Small
By PJ Browne Updated

Small is not a word which springs to mind when you look at Jacob Stockdale. The Ulster Rugby website has the 21-year-old listed at nearly 6' 3" and 16 stone.

Still, remarkably, there was a point in the winger's rugby career when he considered quitting as he believed himself to be too diminutive for the sport.

In an interview with The Telegraph's Gavin Mairs, Stockdale explained that he had initially been big for his age. However, by the time he enrolled at Lisburn's Wallace High School, his growth had stalled.

"By fourth year I was one of the smallest guys in my year," said Stockdale.

I was around 5ft 5ins. At around 14 or 15, I stopped going to training because I wasn’t enjoying it. I in the ‘B’ team and didn’t have any interest in it.

A coach at the school helped renew his love of the game.

"But my coach at Wallace, Derek Suffern, was really influential in encouraging me to come back to training. I can remember coming on in an Under-15 match against Portadown and thinking this is just not for me."

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Still, when he was U16, Stockdale was still playing in Wallace's third and fourth tier teams. However, in his mid-teens, he hit a growth spurt, growing nearly a foot in six months. It was the making of him as a player.

I played every game for the first XV that season and was called up into Ulster and Irish Schools side.

Stockdale has since developed into one of Irish rugby's most exciting players.

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Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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