March 26, 2023 4:23 pm

Josh Van Der Flier believes he has turn out to be a marked man considering that becoming crowned planet player of the year as he seeks to celebrate his 50th Ireland cap with Grand Slam glory.

Flanker Van Der Flier swept the international person prize on the back of a stellar 2022 and has continued his fine type to enable place his nation on the brink of a Guinness Six Nations clean 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 higher on-field interest.

“I suppose there’s certainly been a couple of instances in games exactly where I get the ball and discover there are 3 lads on me, exactly where I believed I’d have a bit much more space,” stated Van Der Flier.

“It could possibly not be the case and it is in my head but there are certainly a couple of instances when I’ve kinda felt like somebody has enjoyed placing a huge hit on me or one thing.”

Asked if there had been some in-game jibes from opposition players, he replied: “Not actually no, fortunately – much more the lads on my group if I make a error!

“(There have) not (been) as well lots of modifications. But I suppose I discover certainly ball-carrying for instance I’m marked a bit much more I guess. But it leaves space for other folks.”

Van Der Flier will this weekend seek to make up for the disappointment of missing Ireland’s 2018 Grand Slam clincher against England at Twickenham by means of injury.

He demonstrated his group-initially mentality through final weekend’s chaotic 22-7 round-4 win in Scotland by throwing lineouts following the loss of hookers Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher.

Andy Farrell joked the back-row forward would be replacing captain Johnny Sexton as the team’s aim-kicker against Steve Borthwick’s side.

“It will be a extremely unique day,” stated Van Der Flier. “Fifty caps, it has flown by rather rapidly.

“In my head, I’m attempting not to feel about it as well considerably I’m type of acknowledging that that is what it is, I guess, and as effectively naturally the significance of the huge game that it is and what’s on the line.

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“I will not be as well worried about an person factor like that (50 caps), the factor that we’ve all worked towards is to win trophies for Ireland and huge games for Ireland, so that is certainly the huge concentrate.”

Will Connors, pictured, threatened to take Josh Van Der Flier’s spot for club and nation ( Marco Iacobucci/PA)

Van Der Flier was in danger of falling behind Leinster group-mate Will Connors in the pecking order for club and nation a couple of years ago.

The quantity seven has overcome that threat to create into a important performer for Ireland, earning praise from his head coach.

“Wow, what a couple of years for Josh,” stated Farrell. “You go back to his story, all this is for the reason that of competitors for areas in Leinster and in Ireland – Will Connors coming on to the scene, et cetera.

“Josh was a single of the guys who place his hand up, had a word with himself and stated, ‘this is up to me’.

“Since he’s completed that, he’s never ever looked back and he deserves all the credit he gets, for the reason that he’s unbelievably diligent as far as his preparation is concerned.

“How he attacks each game is just phenomenal to watch.”

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