International winger Jacob Stockdale has vowed to ground the ball the next time he is over the try line.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday for the first time since he dropped a ball in attempting to score a try for Ulster in the European Champions Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster, the Irish and Ulster winger still believes not grounding the ball cost his side a place in the semi-finals.
Ulster lost 21-18 to the defending champions but could have been ahead by nine points had the 22-year-old scored - having produced a piece of typical wizardry in beating three Leinster players to create the opportunity.
There would still have been over half an hour to go in the tie at the Aviva Stadium and although others have told the young winger it was not the reason for defeat, he still felt responsible and that was his reason for making an apology via his instagram account less than 12 hours after the game.
“I made a mistake, and I made a pretty big mistake that – and I know everyone has said to me that it’s not true – but I feel it cost us a semi-final place,” said Stockdale.
“The amount of people that came down to watch us and the amount of people who paid money to come and watch us and for them not to come away celebrating a victory because I dropped the ball over the line.
“I just felt that I had to apologise and I had to accept it was my fault and I suppose it was a way of moving on, to say ‘look, I’m sorry and it’ll never happen again’.”
British Lion and Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll had described the incident as ‘unforgiveable’ during his post match assessment and Stockdale felt it was ‘pretty fair’ from the now TV pundit.
Stockdale said: “Brian was an incredibly good player and he is a legend in the game and you know what, it probably is somewhat unforgivable to have a mistake like that happen in a game.
“I think his punditry was very fair to be honest. You’re never going to agree 100 per cent with what somebody says about you but what he said was pretty fair.”
And next time a scoring chance comes around?
“I’ll definitely be diving for the next try, no doubt,” smiled Stockdale.