Josh van der Flier's rapid rise through the Leinster ranks continues
On this day, 14 months ago, Josh van der Flier made his senior Leinster debut in a Guinness PRO12 match against lowly Zebre. On Saturday, he starts at openside against the three-time European champions.
The 22-year-old academy player took the chance presented to him, at the start of the season, when Leinster had many stars off on World Cup duty.
Van der Flier made two starts under Matt O'Connor but he has been named alongside Rhys Ruddock and Jamie Heaslip in the Blues back row for this weekend's must-win Champions Cup match.
Leinster will be dumped out of Europe if they fall to the imperious Toulon at Stade Felix Mayol.
Elsewhere, Leo Cullen has named captain Isa Nacewa on the left wing, has Rob Kearney to call on at full back and has Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross in the front row.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) December 11, 2015
Security will be tight at the ground following the Paris terror attacks of last month. Toulon issued this update today:
— RCT - RC Toulon (@RCTofficiel) December 11, 2015
There is good news for Munster fans, too, as head coach Anthony Foley revealed Conor Murray and Francis Salli will both be fit for their Champions Cup clash, on Saturday evening, with Leicester Tigers.
Mun XV: Conway;Earls, Saili,Hurley,Zebo;Keatley,Murray;Cronin,N Scannell, Botha; Foley, D Ryan; Copeland, O’Callaghan,Stander Capt.#MunVLei
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 11, 2015