Amidst a deluge of back-row talent, Josh van der Flier emerged to make his debut for Leinster against Zebre in October 2014 whilst still in his final year with the Academy. Since then, his rise to prominence on both the domestic and international scene has been exceptional.
Consistent displays in the Pro12 and Champions Cup saw van der Flier called into the Six Nations squad in 2016. Following an impressive debut for Ireland at Twickenham in February, the former Wesley College man has become a regular feature of Joe Schmidt’s plans and has even managed to cement himself in Irish sporting folklore during that time. Despite only being introduced in the 26th minute during the historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago, van der Flier played an integral part and was Ireland’s leading tackler.
Closer to home, the development of his all-round game, allied to his attitude and maturity has seen van der Flier become a senior figure under Leo Cullen. At just 24 years of age, he is set to remain as a key figure in green and blue for quite some time.