Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier. Dan Sheridan/INPHO

'He's goal-kicking this weekend' - Van der Flier set to hit 50 mark

The Ireland flanker made his debut against England back in 2016.

THE ACHIEVEMENTS KEEP on coming for Josh van der Flier.

Fresh from throwing into the lineout for the first time against Scotland last weekend, the Ireland flanker and World Rugby player of the year is set to win his 50th Test cap tomorrow versus England.

Sealing a Grand Slam is the priority but Ireland boss Andy Farrell always makes a big deal about these achievements. During his tenure, Ireland have developed a tradition whereby the families of players winning their first caps or hitting notable milestones are invited into camp.

A couple of nights before the Test, the family members are part of a ceremony in which the players are recognised for what they’re about to do. This kind of stuff is what Farrell is all about.

So van der Flier will be honoured ahead of hitting the 50 mark seven years on from his Test debut against England. Ireland lost 21-10 that day at Twickenham in 2016 but most people are predicting a far happier occasion for the Irish players tomorrow.

As ever, van der Flier will do all in his power to help his team over the line.

“He’s actually goal-kicking this weekend,” joked Ireland head coach Andy Farrell yesterday.

“Wow, what a couple of years for Josh. 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, etc; 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, isn’t it?

“It’s fantastic that he is able to play his 50th game, it’s pretty fitting isn’t it, a game like this.”

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