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6 Nations

“Awful, actually terrible” – Fitzgerald blasts one Ireland star.

“really poor” “awful defence”

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Luke Fitzgerald was far from impressed with Jacob Stockdale’s performance against England last weekend and expressed his feelings on this week’s edition of The Left Wing Podcast.

The former Leinster and Ireland utility back was very critical of the 22-year-old Ulster man saying he was

“awful, actually terrible”.

He went on to question why Stockdale failed to release a few passes saying, “you’re allowed to pass the ball,” when referring to him.

He continued, stating he was “really poor” and showed “awful defence” throughout a match that he described as “worst game of rugby” he has ever been to.

You can listen in full to the very enjoyable and analytical podcast below.  

Ulster & Irish teammate Stuart McCloskey was quick to Stockdale’s defence Tweeting Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was quick to respond.

We’d encourage readers to listen to the podcast (above) as while Fitzgerald’s comments were most critical on Stockdale, other plays don’t get an easy ride either with Keith Earls coming in for some frank criticism.

Stockdale himself admitted he didn’t have the greatest game over the weekend.

“It’s a tough one to analyse yourself when you’ve lost and you feel like nothing you did was good enough,” he said.

He even spoke of how he was the one at fault for Daly’s try, but Fitzgerald’s comments still appear a little harsh for last year’s player of the 6 Nations championship.

Fitzgerald went on to discuss the possible changes to the Irish team before it was announced and went as far as to say he would prefer to drop Stockdale rather than Henshaw and put full-back Rob Kearney on the wing.

“Bringing Rob Kearney in possibly on the wing, ahead of Stockdale or something, ahead of dropping Robbie Henshaw,” Fitzgerald said.

While Stockdale certainly didn’t have his finest game on the weekend, his comments seem unfair when you consider Stockdale’s age and what he has done so far in his short career.

With Henshaw being left out of the team due to injury Fitzgerald won’t get his wishes to see Kearney play on the wing just yet as he was announced at full-back by Schmidt. All of which means that Stockdale retains his place in the starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with Scotland, but will he improve enough to gain Fitzgerald’s vote of confidence? We will have to wait and see.

You can check our preview of Scotland v Ireland here.

We also ran our eye of everyones performance last week.

Click here to see how we rated them.

6 Nations

World Rugby Gives Deadline for Nations Championship

World Rugby have given the 10 unions from the Six Nations and Rugby Championship a final deadline to decide on the Nations Championship

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World Rugby have confirmed that global rugby chiefs will have until Friday to decide whether or not the Nations Championship plans will be backed

The governing body has given the unions of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship nations until the closing of business on Friday of this week to provide a yes or no answer towards their new plans.

For their plans to be progressed World Rugby needs a unanimous decision from the 10 unions.

If that is to happen, they plan to launch their new format in 2022, with winners of the Six Nations and an expanded six-team Rugby Championship going head to head.

The final proposals of the Nations Championship will have to be passed by a vote of the full World Rugby council, however none of this will go ahead unless there is backing from the 10 nations.

Proposals have included creating two-tier tournaments for the Six Nations and Rugby Championship which would include the possibility of relegation or promotion.

A format which Six Nations unions appear to dislike.

As well as this there is the issue of the Pacific Islands, who believe that the creation of such tournaments would mean that they would be less likely to face the top nations in November and therefore be unable to develop as they currently are.

Whatever is to happen will become clearer in the next couple of days and it could be the start of a new era for international rugby.

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6 Nations

Welsh Warrior to Play Trade Outside Wales Post-World Cup?

One of Wales’ finest players may make a move away from the country after the World Cup

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(Photo credit PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Image)

Alun Wyn Jones’ future with the Ospreys is in doubt after his duel contract with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys runs out at the end of the season.

The Welsh captain has spent his entire career with the Ospreys, but fans expect and are even encouraging the lock to seek a move elsewhere after Shane Williams said his future needed to be sorted.

Jones has previously turned down the chance to move abroad for a better contract, instead remaining in Wales and being a loyal servant to both his country and club.

Having made 125 caps for Wales, their Grand Slam winning captain would be eligible to continue playing for the country if he did move as he more than doubles the required 60-caps for overseas-based players.

Many are already speculating that Jones will be the British & Irish Lions captain for the 2021 tour of South Africa, but some fear a move abroad would prevent Warren Gatland from picking him.

Fans seem to think that Jones deserves to earn more overseas in the twilight of his career and set himself up for a more stable future come the end of his glittering career.

A move to England or France would be most likely with Harlequins fans calling on the club to make a move for Jones after losing Aussie James Horwill this season.

Another possibility for the 33-year-old could be a big-money move to Japan. Either way most of the clubs in Europe or Japan can offer Jones a significant salary rise which he could be tempted by.

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6 Nations

Ireland Legend Signs Contract Extension

One of Ireland’s most decorated players has put pen to paper on a new contract

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The IRFU have confirmed that full-back Rob Kearney has agreed a nine-month extension to remain with Ireland and Leinster

There had been much speculation after Leinster head coach announced a list of contract renewals last week and Kearney’s name was missing however, all has been sorted and he will stay at Leinster for at least one more season.

Kearney is delighted to have been able to re-sign and admits he sees no reason to stop playing in the near future.

“I just played in two finals. I feel as if I am still playing pretty well. The coaches obviously feel that too. I fully love what I am doing. I am living a dream since I was a kid of five years of age. Why stop? The body is still good, the mind is still good. I’m still loving what I’m doing, I’m getting picked. I don’t see any reason why I should stop,” he said.

Next season will be Kearney’s 15th as a professional and although he considered moves abroad, he believes that he would have been taking a huge risk.

“So, all of a sudden if you do go somewhere else and then you are asking your body to train-play, train-play, you are taking a risk with it. You look at some of the games that the Premiership guys play and the French – they play a lot. We do get very well looked after here,” he added.

The 33-year-old picked up a fifth PRO 14 medal with Leinster on Saturday to add to his collection and said that medals keep him going but that the comradery within the squad is a massive part of what keeps him going.

“Every time you have one, you don’t want to be anywhere else in the world. You have worked so hard for a whole year, you’ve come through thick and thin and we have lifted another trophy together. A group of 57 players contributed to that and you just feel very lucky to be part of it,” he finished.

Along with his PRO 14 medals Kearney has claimed four Champions Cups and a Challenge Cup with the province in 209 appearances, while in 90 caps for Ireland he has won two Grand Slams and two further Six Nations crowns and featuring on two British & Irish Lions tours.

With all that in mind, IRFU performance director David Nucifora is happy to have such a decorated player remain in the country.

“Rob has contributed a huge amount to Irish rugby and has performed at a high level again this year for Ireland and Leinster. We are delighted that he will continue his career in Ireland in what will be his 15th season as a senior pro,” he said.

Kearney will hope that he can play a key role in Ireland’s bid to reach a first World Cup final later this year in Japan, before looking ahead to next season and who knows this warrior could earn himself another extension but for now let’s enjoy what he brings while he remains on our shores.

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