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Van der Flier plans to give reminder of his talents

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Josh van der Flier had to stay patient while Will Connors wore the No 7 shirt. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Josh van der Flier had to stay patient while Will Connors wore the No 7 shirt. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Josh van der Flier had to stay patient while Will Connors wore the No 7 shirt. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Such is the level of competition for places in the Leinster and Ireland back-row, Josh van der Flier has never been in a position when he has felt that his place in the starting team was secure.

He had reached a point, however, where he was a first-team regular for club and country, which is why the last few weeks have been tough.

Van der Flier has had to stay patient as he watched Will Connors take the No 7 jersey from him, but having been restored to the starting team for Friday night's visit of Wales, the Wicklow native gets a chance to prove a point.

"I've been fortunate to play a lot of big games over the last few years, but anyone who's not playing this weekend or didn't play last weekend feels like they should be playing, I was certainly in that boat," Van der Flier said. "That's just the way it is - everyone backs themselves."

Van der Flier's challenge now is to remind Andy Farrell what he is capable of, but he knows he must be mindful of forcing it.

"It's something I'm very aware of at the moment, that at the back of my head all I want to do is go out there and do something unbelievable, you want to run the length of the pitch and do something incredible," the 27-year-old admitted.

"But that's not really what you need to do, you need to do your job as well as you can. I think that's what I'll have to focus on and everyone on the team has to focus on, because that's kind of the way it works. It's not an individual sport by any means.

"So, definitely just try to do my job as well as I can and try not to get carried away with myself."

Farrell has made it clear to the likes of Van der Flier that Friday night is a chance to stake their claim - not that the openside needs to be reminded.

"He mentioned when he was calling out the team that it was an opportunity for lads to take their chances.

"I know well enough from Leinster the need to take chances and even if you're consistently playing, you still need to take every chance you get. I'm well aware of it and looking forward to the opportunity."

Van der Flier has been an extra squad player for Ireland's last two Six Nations games, and just after the captain's run at the Stade de France a fortnight ago, he found himself in the unique situation whereby his graduation from his Master of Business Administration course took place online.

"It was a very, very strange moment," he smiled. "I knew my graduation was on that day for a month or so before, and then got the time and we had the captain's run from 12.30 to 1.30 and graduation was at 1, so I thought it was going to be close.

"So I just flicked on my phone once we were finished and my name was on a slideshow. I managed to catch the end of it, it was a cool moment."


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