Monday 17 December 2018

Leinster star sets impressive PRO 14 record in tireless performance against Connacht

1 January 2018; Tom Farrell of Connacht is tackled by Josh van der Flier of Leinster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match between Leinster and Connacht at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
1 January 2018; Tom Farrell of Connacht is tackled by Josh van der Flier of Leinster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match between Leinster and Connacht at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Leinster held on for a dramatic 21-18 win against Connacht at the RDS yesterday after managing to repel the visitors' 28-phase assault on their try-line as the clock went red.

Leinster's defensive effort during the game's closing stages was impressive, but one man's herculean rearguard display stood out above all his team-mates.

Openside flanker Josh van der Flier is competing for a place in one of rugby's most competitive areas - the Leinster back row - but he couldn't have done much more to showcase himself on New Year's Day.

Amazingly, van der Flier recorded 34 successful tackles at the RDS, which is the highest total for a player since the league started tracking that statistic in 2010.

Leinster have another derby against Ulster at the RDS this Saturday, before big European fixtures against Glasgow and Montpellier, and it will be interesting to see if van der Flier is able to claim a starting place for what will be a crucial few weeks in the team's season.

He is competing with Lions star Sean O'Brien and the in-form Dan Leavy for a place at flanker at the moment, but van der Flier's record-setting performance yesterday has allowed him stake a big claim ahead of the next few weeks.

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