Josh Van Der Flier believes he has develop into a marked man since being topped world participant of the 12 months as he seeks to have fun his fiftieth Ireland cap with Grand Slam glory.
Flanker Van Der Flier swept the worldwide particular person prize on the again of a stellar 2022 and has continued his effective kind to assist put his nation getting ready to a Guinness Six Nations clear sweep.
The 29-year-old will make a milestone Test look in Saturday’s Dublin showdown with England and feels his current elevation has led to larger on-field consideration.
“I suppose there’s definitely been a few times in games where I get the ball and find there are three lads on me, where I thought I’d have a bit more space,” mentioned Van Der Flier.
“It might not be the case and it’s in my head but there are definitely a couple of times when I’ve kinda felt like someone has enjoyed putting a big hit on me or something.”
Asked if there had been some in-game jibes from opposition gamers, he replied: “Not really no, thankfully – more the lads on my team if I make a mistake!
“(There have) not (been) too many changes. But I suppose I find definitely ball-carrying for example I’m marked a bit more I guess. But it leaves space for other people.”
Van Der Flier will this weekend search to make up for the frustration of lacking Ireland’s 2018 Grand Slam clincher towards England at Twickenham by means of harm.
He demonstrated his team-first mentality throughout final weekend’s chaotic 22-7 round-four win in Scotland by throwing lineouts following the lack of hookers Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher.
Andy Farrell joked the back-row ahead could be changing captain Johnny Sexton because the group’s goal-kicker towards Steve Borthwick’s aspect.
“It will be a very special day,” mentioned Van Der Flier. “Fifty caps, it has flown by quite quickly.
“In my head, I’m trying not to think about it too much; I’m kind of acknowledging that that’s what it is, I guess, and as well obviously the significance of the big game that it is and what’s on the line.
“I won’t be too worried about an individual thing like that (50 caps), the thing that we’ve all worked towards is to win trophies for Ireland and big games for Ireland, so that’s definitely the big focus.”
Van Der Flier was at risk of falling behind Leinster team-mate Will Connors within the pecking order for membership and nation a few years in the past.
The quantity seven has overcome that menace to develop right into a key performer for Ireland, incomes reward from his head coach.
“Wow, what a couple of years for Josh,” mentioned Farrell. “You go back to his story, all this is because of competition for places in Leinster and in Ireland – Will Connors coming on to the scene, et cetera.
“Josh was one of the guys who put his hand up, had a word with himself and said, ‘this is up to me’.
“Since he’s done that, he’s never looked back and he deserves all the credit he gets, because he’s unbelievably diligent as far as his preparation is concerned.
“How he attacks every game is just phenomenal to watch.”