herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Van der Flier loving life in breakdown lane

Josh van der Flier
Josh van der Flier

Josh van der Flier's doesn't want this Six Nations to end, but end it must.

Stuart McCloskey made his Ireland debut from the start in Twickenham. Ultan Dillane did likewise off the bench in South West London. Finlay Bealham followed the same impact path as Dillane against Italy.

Out of the quartet of new caps, it is Van der Flier who has moved from the fringes into the heart of the Ireland pack from his two starts and, one would have to assume, another against Scotland.

"I'm absolutely loving the environment and loving playing," said the 22-year-old.

"In a way, you don't want it to end and obviously you want to be winning those games."

Van der Flier has carried well and been a ruck machine, clearing bodies out to guarantee the fast ball so coveted by everyone in the game.

Scotland will bring their groundhogs to The Aviva Stadium and his work over their ball could be critical to how Ireland defend against Stuart Hogg and company.

The next step is to become a multi-task openside, taking his efficiency in protection of Ireland's ruck ball into making a mess of Scotland's.

"Yeah, that's something I've really been trying to work on in training anyway.

"That's what you see the best back rows in the world doing.

"I probably wasn't very effective in the last couple of games in going for turnovers and trying to disrupt their ruck ball.

"It is something Joe identified that I need to work on."

No one will work harder.

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