It's only four years since Jacob Stockdale was first called up to an Ireland squad. But it's a reflection of both his own rise in that time and the sweeping selection changes for the tests against Japan and USA that he is - temporarily at least - one of the elder statesmen in the current panel.

Due to a mixture of Ireland's leading players either being away with the British & Irish Lions or given a timely rest, Andy Farrell's selection for the current international window includes a dozen uncapped names.

Which means Stockdale is, at just 25 years of age, the fourth most-capped player in the squad for the Japan and USA tests behind Peter O'Mahony, Dave Kilcoyne and captain James Ryan. A relative veteran in other words, but one who is relishing the freshness of the new faces.

"Everybody who's come in has fit really well with the group which is a massive thing socially and then on the training pitch," said the Ulster back ahead of Saturday's fixture against Japan at the Aviva Stadium in which he has been named as a starter.

"It's exciting. It's nice to have a few fresh faces in and have a bit of a different experience around the place."

The wing is conscious of his role as a relatively experienced figure although he joked that he "might get a few slaps if I try to impart wisdom" to those with fewer caps.

"It did occur to me to be honest that there weren't many lads with an awful lot of caps in the squad this time round. But that being said, there are still lads with massive amounts of experience at club level, the likes of Stuart McCloskey - 130 odd games for Ulster - Chris Farrell, the same, for Munster who's played a lot of huge games for them and is obviously a very experienced player.

"So while there's not as many international caps along that back-line, there definitely is the experience in terms of rugby experience. But it's been nice to not feel like the young newbie in the back-line for once."

Earlier this week, Ireland U20 international Ben Moxham cited Stockdale as one of the players he had found most helpful in his transition from the Ulster academy to senior provincial team.

Casting his mind back to who played that role for him 4-5 years ago in his first steps with Ulster and Ireland, a few names immediately jump to mind for him.

"I think Moxey's being a bit kind there. I don't think I've done too much to help him to be honest.," he quipped to RTÉ Sport.

"But obviously whenever I first came into the set-up I was pretty lucky to have a lot of superstars around me.

"I had Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Charles Piatau and Craig Gilroy, who maybe while he was only 25-26 had over 150 caps for Ulster, so I was fortunate to have a lot of experience and talent around me and I'd say everyone of them played a part in terms of the set-up and making me feel comfortable.

"It's always something I was appreciative of and always make an effort to help the young lads and give them a text of encouragement or tell them what they're doing right or probably most of the time what they're doing wrong."

Aside from using his status within the current Ireland camp to help the newcomers, another motivation against Japan for Stockdale is to prove his worth after missing out on Lions consideration.

While he was an unlikely candidate for a call-up by his own admission, he admits he still felt disappointment to miss out.

"I don't think too many people were expecting my name on that list but that doesn't stop you being disappointed with not getting selected. But I'm not there so I have to park that and focus on something else and luckily these games (against Japan and USA) were scheduled in so I was able to focus on something else and put the frustration and effort into these games."

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