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Doris has all the ingredients to be a regular for Irish: Van der Flier

 

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Top prospect: Caelan Doris will make debut against Scotland

Top prospect: Caelan Doris will make debut against Scotland

�INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Top prospect: Caelan Doris will make debut against Scotland

Caelan Doris's name has rung out on the Dublin schools scene since he emerged fully formed as a 15-year-old and helped Blackrock College to a Leinster Senior Schools Cup final.

Six years on, the Mayo native is preparing to make his international debut against Scotland.​

It's a big moment in any young player's life, but the players who have watched him emerge so quickly through the Leinster Academy and become part of the province's starting XV this season don't expect him to have much hassle.​

He was, they say, born to play at this level and has earned his place through his performances.​

"I'd definitely heard about him coming through and in the Academy I just remember the first day I met him I noticed he was a good athlete, a nice guy," Josh van der Flier says of his back-row colleague.​

"After about a month, I saw him and glanced over and I was, like, 'Is that Caelan?'

"He'd got huge, turned into a monster! He's obviously a pretty impressive physical specimen and he's been really good.​

"Any time he's had a chance he's played really well.​

"I think it was the Connacht game (in 2018) when we played away and got beaten quite badly, it was one of his first games.

"We weren't doing that well, he came off the bench and he was unbelievable.

"The result didn't go that well, but I remember thinking how incredible he was ball-carrying, lifted the intensity and made some big tackles as well.

"Since then, every time I've seen him play he's been really impressive.

"He works really hard, he's a really good guy and I'm delighted for him.​

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"To be getting his first cap is obviously incredibly special for him.

"He's worked really hard for it and he deserves it.

"It's nice to see someone who has been playing so well rewarded for his hard work."​

If Doris wants an example to follow, Van der Flier is not a bad one.​

After all, he burst on to the scene with an all-action display in his first cap at Twickenham - providing a much-needed injection of life to a team struggling in the wake of a disappointing World Cup.​

"He's been incredible, I don't know if there's much to say really," he said of offering advice to the youngster.​

"I said to him earlier in the week to make sure he enjoyed it. That's obvious, I'm sure he'll enjoy it.

"I found I was really nervous about the intensity of international matches.

"I said to him that the adrenaline, the occasion will get you through any lift in intensity.

"It's the same as any PRO14, European game.​

"You just play the game in front of you.

"It's a game of rugby at the end of the day.​

"I found it a big step up... the fitness was my biggest worry, everyone says the PRO14 could be 70 per cent, the European Cup is 80 per cent and then it's 20 per cent more for international games.​

"I found the accuracy, the margin for error, is so much smaller.​

"Maybe it's because you build it up a bit more in your head, but giving away a penalty in a close Test match, as all of them are, can be game-changing where I didn't find that as much when I was in PRO14.​

"I wouldn't have given away a huge amount of penalties, but they're always three-point, close games."​

Captain Johnny Sexton believes Doris is ready for the step up, as he told him not to stray too far from what he's been doing for Leinster.​

"Just go out and be yourself. It obviously is a step up. He has proven that he can stand out at European level," he said.​

"You have seen in his performances this year that he has been outstanding in some big games.

"Even last year when he came in to play for us, only on a few occasions but he stands out in training.

"I know form coming into the Six Nations is very important but the form you display in training with the coaches is as important.

"It's hard to enjoy it when you are that nervous and you feel that pressure, but he is made for this and I suppose that's what he has to try and get into his head."


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