herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Van der Flier is Blues' Poster Boy

Josh van der Flier
Josh van der Flier

Josh van der Flier is Leinster's poster boy for never giving up on your dream.

The Ireland flanker was not even mapped to make it as a professional when leaving Wesley College.

"He wouldn't necessarily have been the most talented player coming into the Academy," says Leinster head coach Leo Cullen.

"He certainly wasn't the player where people were saying, 'oh wait 'til you see this player coming through.'

"There was a lot more unknown about him. He had to go through a more difficult route to get there."

Van der Flier has got there by sheer force of will, revelling in the daily grind.

When the going gets tough, the openside just gets tougher. That was at no time more apparent than working his way back from a serious knee injury.

"He is incredible," Cullen added. "All through his injury, he's been looking at what he can do, how he can improve, talking to lots of players, current and former, guys with the same injury, other back rowers.

"He's a pretty unique character."

It is just as well the 25-year-old is back in full working harness as Seán O'Brien will be out for 8-12 weeks after surgery to his broken forearm.

Dan Leavy sustained a strain to his neck and is undergoing a period of rehabilitation.

Leinster were not able to provide an estimate as to his return to action.

It doesn't end there, Robbie Henshaw is looking at anywhere from four-to-six weeks away with a hamstring strain.

"Outside backs and back rows, traditionally are the two ones that come under the most strain for us," noted Cullen.

The list of temporarily fallen men is not as long as it is negative, in terms of The Champions Cup.

Seán O'Brien, Fergus McFadden and Joe Tomane are definitely out of the back-to-backs against Bath.

Robbie Henshaw is right on the brink, depending on how his rehabilitation evolves.

The worry over Leavy is that Leinster were not able to provide any more detail on his recovery timeline.

"Literally, in the space of 10 days, we lose Ferg' (McFadden) to a nasty enough hamstring injury.

"Joe just got caught on one leg when we're about to score and Rory twisted his knee in that game, not as bad.

"Seanie breaks his arm and Robbie does his in the warm-up of a game."

This all comes just before returning to PRO14 League action against the Ospreys at The RDS on Friday night (KO 7.35, TG4).

Promoted articles

Entertainment News