'Irish back-three approach won't change' – Stockdale

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Keith Earls and Rob Kearney joined Jacob Stockdale in Ireland’s back-three in last November’s win over the All Blacks
2019 Rugby World Cup: Ireland v Scotland
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Sunday, 22 September Kick-off: 08:45 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland MW and BBC Radio Ulster; plus text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Live on ITV

Jacob Stockdale says the absence of Keith Earls and Rob Kearney will not change Ireland’s approach in their World Cup opener against Scotland.

With 21 caps, Stockdale will be Ireland’s most experienced player in the back three when he lines up with Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour.

Despite being declared fit, Earls and Kearney will not feature in Yokohama.

“Obviously it’s a loss to not have Rob and Earlsy in the back three with their experience,” said Stockdale.

“[But] Andrew Conway and Jordan have played a lot of rugby for Ireland and I’ve played a fair bit of rugby with them.

“They are the kind of guys that are going to want to run onto the ball and attack which as a winger is very exciting.

“It hasn’t really changed how we prepare, we prepare pretty much exactly the same as we would every other week for every other Test match.”

Since making his debut in 2017, Stockdale has formed a formidable partnership with Kearney and Earls at the back.

However both Larmour and Conway have received regular game-time recently, with both featuring in three of Ireland’s four warm-up matches.

Ireland have won their last two meetings with Scotland, Stockdale scoring on both occasions, however Gregor Townsend’s side remain a serious threat to the Irish as both seek to make an early statement in Pool A.

Stockdale, 23, expects an experienced Scottish backline to test the resolve of Ireland’s back three, who have not started a match together since last November against Italy in Chicago.

“Scotland obviously have a very dangerous backline, they’ll come with a really, really intelligent kicking game too,” said the Ulster wing.

“Finn Russell likes to put in these smart kicks and cross-fields that if you’re not completely switched on as a back three can hurt you,” he said.



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