Ireland try-scoring sensation during this season’s NatWest 6 Nations Rugby Championship, Jacob Stockdale, has been named Player of the Tournament.
The 21 year-old Ulsterman scored a record seven tries as he helped Ireland secure a third Grand Slam. Stockdale, who scored against Italy, Scotland, Wales and England, eclipsed the previous record of the six tries jointly held by Chris Ashton, Will Greenwood and Shane Williams.
Playing in the Ulster Bank League with Ballynahinch RFC as recently as 2016, Stockdale’s progression has been incredible and his meteoric rise continues to gather pace with this prestigious accolade.
The Ireland winger was a clear winner in the public vote, gaining 32% of rugby fans’ votes. His Ireland teammate Conor Murray was second with 18.2%, just edging fellow Irishman Jonathan Sexton into third on 18%.
Another Ireland winger took fourth place with Keith Earls garnered 14.5% of the votes, followed by Italy’s rising star, Matteo Minozzi, who earned 13.2%. France captain Guilhem Guirado completed the line-up with 4.1%.
Stockdale becomes the first Irishman since Paul O’Connell to win the Player of the Tournament award. Previous Irish winners include Tommy Bowe (2010), Brian O’Driscoll (2006, 2007, 2009) and Gordon D’Arcy (2004).