Ireland have ‘another level’ to go to after Wales win, says Van der Flier

Josh Van der Flier said that it’s good to have something to build on despite a bonus point win over Warren Gatland’s side

Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier normally wears a red scrum cap
'Another level' Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier says that this Ireland team can go up a gear (Brian Lawless/PA)

The overall tone coming from the Ireland camp after last weekend’s win against Wales was that more can be done to improve an already dominant side.

Josh Van der Flier echoed that sentiment when he spoke to the media following the game.

The Leinster flanker was positive after winning 31-7 against Wales, however, said it was good for the players to have something to strive for.

“There was definitely sloppy bits I suppose but we felt pretty in control throughout I thought and felt on top,” said Van der Flier.

“There’s a few bits and pieces, a few penalties here and there, losing the ball, losing control, where we probably could have done a bit better attacking-wise but I think overall we can be happy with a bonus point and a good finish to the game.”

Despite the hiccups, Ireland remained dominant throughout the game and kept the pressure on Wales despite the pitfalls, one of which caused a try by Bundee Aki to be disallowed for a forward pass by Robbie Henshaw.

Van der Flier said: “It’s a good place to be, the talk from the coaches after was very much at halftime and the end of the game, we were a bit of in areas and I think that if you say that after a scoreline like that, it’s obviously a good sign, I think it’s a very experienced group now at this stage and [there is] another level in us and another bit to go in terms of getting things right, which is a great place to be.”

Ireland will face a different beast in two weeks when they face England, who will be a wounded animal having lost to Scotland for the fourth straight year.

A win will also secure Ireland the record for most successive Six Nations wins in a row, a record they currently share with England.

“It’s good, thinking back to three or four years ago, playing in France, we let the atmosphere get on top of us a little bit and probably didn’t execute at times,” said the Leinster second row, who was World Rugby Player of the Year in 2022.

“Now you fast forward to now and we put in one of our best performances away from home and it will be the same with England and Twickenham.”

Van der Flier said that Ireland can take a lot of confidence from their away performance in the opening weekend gains France, where they won 38-17 in what was billed as a Six Nations decider to open the tournament.

For now, Ireland can relish in their victory against Wales and for one Ireland front row, it was an even more momentous occasion.