Josh van der Flier’s imposing performances for Ireland during the 2022 Guinness Six Nations have landed the flanker one of three spots on the Player of the Championship shortlist.
The 28-year-old was the only Irishman to play every minute in the Championship, showcasing just how integral the Leinster man is to Andy Farrell’s side as they finished second behind Grand Slam winners France.
Known for his tireless tackling and dogged work at the breakdown, it is no secret that Van der Flier now packs an even greater punch with his carrying on the international stage.
The No.7 credits relaxing and letting go of his pre-match nerves for helping him show what he can do with ball in hand in a green jersey and his power and threat were evident from Round 1.
He scythed through the Wales defence with a lung-busting line break at the Aviva Stadium which set the platform for Andrew Conway to eventually cross for his second try on the opening weekend.
That score put the game out of reach and got Ireland off to the perfect start with a 29-7 win over Wayne Pivac’s defending champions.
In Round 2, without injured captain Johnny Sexton, Ireland went down 30-24 to France at the Stade de France in what would turn out to be their sole defeat in the 2022 Championship.
Despite being on the wrong end of the result, Van der Flier did plenty to bolster his burgeoning reputation, scoring a quickfire try to help drag his side back into the contest.
He really hit his straps when Italy visited the Irish capital, topping Ireland’s tackle count with 12 and carrying for 55m.
The Wicklow ace was handed the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match award after a sterling display in the 57-6 win.
He backed that up with another solid showing as Ireland beat England at Twickenham for just the second time since 2010.
Van der Flier’s good work helped lead to James Lowe’s early try which got the Men in Green on their way and despite 14-man England’s valiant resurgence, a late flurry helped Ireland prevail 32-15.
The openside flanker again found the score sheet in Ireland’s comfortable 26-5 win over Scotland on Super Saturday, a victory that sealed the Triple Crown.
His powerful run from close range was too much for the Scottish defence to handle and capped the most impressive of campaigns, with Van der Flier a worthy candidate for the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship gong.