Ireland’s emerging openside Josh Van der Flier has revealed that studying one of the game’s greats has helped shape his mindset as he embarks on his international career.
Before Ireland’s home clash with France, the 25-year-old spoke with reporters about how he has altered his approach when it comes to contesting at the breakdown after reading All Black legend Richie McCaw’s book.
“What actually changed my mindset was that I was reading a bit of McCaw’s book a few years ago.
“He said he stopped looking at the number of turnovers he got but looked at how effective he was with the number of chances he had.
“That’s probably more the way I’d look at it now. Sometimes I might end up going to too many breakdowns – as in I’m not needed.
“I’m just parked up doing nothing and sometimes I was needed in a breakdown and the ball slowed down because I didn’t get there. So I try and read it as I go and make sure where I should be and not be wasted I suppose.”
The ‘quality not quantity’ approach has worked for the Leinster flank, who has seen regular game time with Ireland with legend Sean O’Brien and club teammate Dan Leavy suffering injuries. Since debuting in 2016, Van der Flier has been involved in two wins over the All Blacks, first in Chicago and then in November’s win in Dublin where he notched 16 tackles on 17 attempts.
“That was the big thing for me anyway watching [Richie] McCaw and [David] Pocock, when you see on the TV however many turnovers they got in the game,” van der Flier said.
Joe Schmidt press conference after France win:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now