Leinster's Josh van der Flier puts success down to a pen and paper

The Irish international was named man-of-the-match on Friday against Edinburgh

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Leinster's Josh van der Flier. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Josh van der Flier is living the dream. The 22-year-old is continuing to impress in his breakthrough season for Leinster which also included international honours during the Six Nations.

The flanker scored a try in Leinster's bonus point win over Edinburgh on Friday night. He capped an excellent performance with man-of the-match honours.

Speaking after the game van der Flier was asked if has to pinch himself by his meteoric rise in the past 12 months. "Pretty much every game, every day I'm pinching myself. Just loving every minute of it really. This season has been incredible for me."

Having made six appearances for the province last season, including only two from the start, van der Flier has been one of the shining lights for Leinster this year. He has already almost trebled his appearances for the province this season, having made 17 appearances.

"I worked pretty hard throughout the summer in pre-season. I think at this point last year I was just beginning my time out injured and I was pretty much injured until the end of pre-season. It's better to be playing that be injured. I have worked hard on a good few bits of my game and managed to get those opportunities earlier in the year. It's been very surreal from then on, trying to take each game as it comes and try and do as well as I can."

Gemma Bell presents the Guinness PRO12 Man of the Match Award to Leinster's Josh van der Flier. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

In a world of analysis and preparation that is dominated by technology, one of van der Flier's main preparation tools is his own pencil and notebook. "I do write a lot. I always keep my notebook around with me. I try and take down whatever is relevant for that week. I probably have to work a bit harder to remember things, I wouldn't be as good at remembering stuff. I have to work that bit harder to make sure I have everything in the head."

The former Wesley College student also revealed that he has taken advice from a former Leinster player who only retired last summer. "I had a good chat with Shane Jennings at the start of the season. I met up with him during the World Cup period. He talked me through what he used to do. He would be a lot better a professional than me. I learned an awful lot from him."

With performances like the one shown on Friday night, van der Flier will hope to add to his two Irish senior caps this summer against South Africa. He will take part in a one-day Ireland camp on Sunday afternoon. 

Leinster return to action in a fortnight's time in Belfast against Ulster. Head coach Leo Cullen, along with van der Flier and the rest of the team will hope to book a home play-off for the post-season with a win in the Kingspan Stadium.