Van der Flier welcomes competition in Ireland's back-row

Van der Flier welcomes competition in Ireland's back-row

Ireland and Leinster star Josh Van der Flier has welcomed the competition for places in Ireland's back row ahead of their game against England on Saturday.

The current World Rugby Player of the Year is part of a pool of Irish players that includes his Leinster teammates Caelan Doris, Jack Conan, and Munster's Peter O'Mahony and Gavin Coombes. Ryan Baird, Cian Prendergast, and Tadhg Beirne are also other options that Farrell can call upon.

Doris, who received numerous plaudits for his displays in an Ireland jersey, once again showed his versatility against Italy at the start of the month. The Mayo man switched his position in the back row several times and also scored two tries in the 33-17 win.

Van der Flier praised his Leinster teammate for his performances in an Irish jersey and endorsed the competition Ireland has at the test match level.

"Yeah, there always seems to be a lot of competition around the back row, and Caelan did brilliantly the last day," he said.

"He had a very, very good game, and I think any time he takes the field at the moment, he's performing really, really well.

"There's always a lot of competition, and I'm well used to it."

Dublin , Ireland - 13 November 2021; Josh van der Flier of Ireland is tackled by Codie Taylor . (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Van der Flier, who is set to win his 51st cap on Saturday against England, also says the back-row group is always 'bouncing' and 'learning things off each other.' He also claimed that Ireland coach Paul O'Connell advices players who have weaker aspects of their game to speak to players who are stronger then them at those aspects.

“We kind of bounce off each other, the whole back-row group in the squad. We tend to be learning different things from each other,” he explained.

“It’s something that Paul O’Connell encourages quite a lot. If there’s someone who is really good at something, Paul would be like, ‘Why don't you work with them on that?’

“That’s encouraged a huge amount within the group, and I think in the same way, Caelan has learned things from me, I have certainly learned things from him as well.”

Ireland's game against England starts at 5:30pm on Saturday.

Ireland's team will also be announced on Thursday afternoon