herald

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Larmour and Stockdale on collision course

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour
Leinster’s Jordan Larmour

Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale are more different than they are the same.

For obvious reasons, they put bums on seats and cause supporters to rise up out of them in appreciation for latent talent.

Some call it athletic supremacy. Some call it X-Factor. Some call it brilliance.

Call it what you want, it is difficult to legislate for and even more difficult to control.

At the moment, Stockdale has ownership of the number eleven shirt for Ireland and Larmour fights it out for number 23.

"Yeah, I suppose, when he's on the starting (Ireland) team I'm on the bibs, training against him, he's a quality player," said Larmour.

What Stockdale has mastered as a natural finisher is what the Dubliner is still trying to add to his arsenal.

This can be gauged from the astonishing return of 14 tries from just 19 international caps, including being named Six Nations Player of the Championship in Ireland's Grand Slam season.

"He's world class and some of the tries he scores are a bit of a joke," acknowledged Larmour.

"We are going to have to have all hands on deck when he gets the ball."

The best way to limit Stockdale's impact is to cut off the supply line and always be alive to his forays infield.

Once the ball reaches his hands, it can be a nightmare moment, especially for the first man up tasked with dealing with Stockdale's frame and fend.

"You give him the ball in a bit of space, he will chip it over you, go around you or go through you.

"He's a big man. He can score a try from anywhere, so we have to be ready for that."

The next instalment in the careers of Larmour and Stockdale will arrive at the Aviva Stadium in the European Cup quarter-final.

While Stockdale may have scored more tries for Ireland, Larmour got the most recent one in what was his fourth in 13 caps at the end of the loss to Wales in the Principality Stadium.

The unconvincing minutes at full-back for his country makes one of the wing slots Larmour's most likely way into the test team.

He has the rest of this season and the start of the next one to prove he has what it takes to dislodge Keith Earls or Stockdale.

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