Jacob Stockdale hits back at Brian O'Driscoll's 'ridiculous' Ulster comments

By Stephen Barry

Jacob Stockdale has branded Brian O'Driscoll's comments about Ulster Ruby as "ridiculous".

Ireland's record tryscorer labelled the northern province a "basket case" while speaking about the possibility of the IRFU sending a Leinster fly-half, Ross Byrne or Joey Carbery, to follow Jordi Murphy to Ravenhill.

Jacob Stockdale and Brian O'Driscoll

"They don't have a coach, [they're] a little bit of a basket case at the moment, and he [Murphy] is going up there to try and play his rugby from next year on," said O'Driscoll.

It follows the joint-decision of the club and IRFU to revoke the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding following the fallout from a high-profile rape trial, which saw both players acquitted of all charges.

With regard to on-the-pitch matters, it all means Ulster have significant recruitment to do for next season in terms of their coaching and playing staff.

However, Stockdale told the Belfast Telegraph there's no divide in the dressing room and hit back at O'Driscoll's comments.

"I think he called us a basket case, which, to be honest, I think is ridiculous," said Stockdale.

"We are competing for the PRO14 play-offs, we are actually in quite a good place and I think he could probably count on his hands how many times he has been up at Ulster Rugby in the last five years. So, I think the comments are pretty unfair.

"In terms of within the club and in terms of the players there is absolutely no split.

"To be honest, everything that has gone on outside of Ulster Rugby and the stuff that you can't control has almost galvanised us.

"We are a very close-knit group at the moment and I think that is being seen. We have pulled out performance on top of performance and we have started actually playing some really good rugby."

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