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Sunday 19 May 2019

Van der Flier in miracle comeback

Josh van der Flier
Josh van der Flier

Josh van der Flier is looking at being ready to play for Leinster against Munster in the PRO14 League semi-final on Saturday week.

The flanker has made a near-miracle recovery from groin surgery in March.

"I've just been given targets to hit each week and been told 'once you hit this strength target you can progress on to this,'" he said.

"It hasn't been rushing back. It's been systematic, ticking boxes."

Van der Flier was given a 12-week return schedule by his surgeon, looking to shave an incredible four weeks off the projected return date.

Munster and Ulster made their way to the League final four without convincing anyone they will go further.

Johann van Graan's men owned the ball, but not Benetton, in what was a physical 15-13 contest at Thomond Park.

There was a lack of creativity that proved they are right to scout a new atack coach for that special purpose.

The Italians and their coach Kieran Crowley deserve most of the plaudits for how they came so close to delivering a blow that would have had far-reaching consequences.

"It's not the first time they've come to Ireland and put in a serious performance, they've drawn twice against Leinster and Ulster," said Peter O'Mahony.

The captain noted the "poor skill execution and poor decision-making" that infiltrated their output.

It looks like Joey Carbery and Keith Earls will be fit and firing for Munster on Saturday week.

They will look to prey on the physical and emotional fallout from Leinster's Champions Cup final next Saturday.

Ulster were pushed to the limit to withstand Connacht 21-13 in a quarter-final that could have gone either way at The Kingspan.

It remains to be seen where their Dan McFarland will take them in the weeks ahead.

PRO14 LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS:

May 17: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster, Scotstoun, KO7.35 - Eirsport.

May 18: Leinster v Munster, The RDS, KO3.0 - Eirsport.

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