Belfast Telegraph

Flanker Van der Flier is savouring breakthrough year

By Cian Tracey

When Josh van der Flier eventually stops to take a breath in a whirlwind breakthrough season, he will realise that he has come a long way in such a short space of time.

The Leinster flanker picked up the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year award at Wednesday's IRUPA awards ceremony but as has been the case all season, there is no time to dwell on his latest success.

Ordinarily, a home game against Treviso would be seen as a five-point banker but with the Italians arriving in Dublin off the back of a shock win over Connacht and with Leinster trying to seal a home semi-final as they desperately try to rediscover their form, the stakes are high at the RDS tomorrow.

"It's been an unbelievable season really. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, I don't really want it to end," Van der Flier enthused.

"I enjoyed every single minute of it and I just want it to keep going. I've been very fortunate to get the chances I have."

'Fortunate' isn't a word many people would use to describe the 23-year-old's progress this year as he has excelled at every given opportunity.

It has by no means been a vintage season for Leinster but last week's 30-6 humbling at the hands of Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium has been put behind them as they switch the focus to Treviso.

"I wouldn't say it's straightforward at all, look at the Connacht game last week - they play really good, opportunist rugby," Van der Flier insisted.

"It's massive for our discipline this weekend because if you give away penalties anywhere inside the half it looks like Jayden Hayward will absolutely nail them, and we saw that in the Connacht game.

"So discipline has to be right up there in our priorities."

Belfast Telegraph


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