Josh van der Flier plans to keep the pressure on Carty and Connacht at Aviva

Leinster flanker knows he will have to keep a close eye on Connacht outhalf in second leg

Josh van der Flier has most angles covered these days as befits a player who is in the form of his rugby life for Leinster and Ireland, perhaps the most perplexing aspect of his glut of player-of-the-match accolades is where to stash all that ribboned neck metal.

The diligence with which he went away and improved aspects of his game, particularly his carrying, is reflected handsomely in those high-calibre performances. Providing balance to a backrow that contains two number eights, the 28-year-old boasts the attributes required of a modern flanker to complement some old school basics.

No self-respecting openside flanker likes to let a game pass without getting a chance to tickle the ribs of the opposing outhalf; it’s like dogs and cars, kittens and silver paper, the lure is so strong, bred into them. The problem is that desire must be tempered to fit within the defensive system.

So, is there still scope? Van der Flier explained: “It’s up to the individual. You want to stick to the defensive system, not put anyone else at risk and open up triangles or doglegs as they say. But it is probably one of those ones, if you go out and try to jump out of line and make a read and it works you are the hero; if it doesn’t work you get the head taken off you in the meetings.

“From my perspective you want to put as much pressure on the opposition as possible. It has to be the right time and the right moment. Some outhalves like to have someone on their inside and if you jump out at them, they will just put someone through a gap. At the right time the more pressure the better.”

So, switching from the generic to the specific and an eye on Friday night's Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 second leg against Connacht at the Aviva Stadium, what's it like to try and course Jack Carty around a pitch? Van der Flier said: "He is [hard to get to]. He has a good step too. I thought I had him lined up last week [in the Sportsground] at one stage and he just stepped inside me.

“He is a very good player, very dangerous. He can pretty much do it all, run with the ball, he’s quite quick, has a good pass and a dangerous kicking game. We have experience first-hand of those little chips over the top to himself or little grubbers through.

“We certainly need to be very alert when he has the ball. It is something that I would be aware of when trying to put pressure on him. You have to be aware of those dummies, that side-step. He’s a very good player and I rate him very highly. I find it a challenge playing against him but I will be looking forward to [Friday]; hopefully we can put a bit of pressure on.”

One aspect of the game that Leinster will hope to improve upon is their effectiveness at rucks, an area in which Van der Flier felt that Connacht had an edge. "Denis Leamy works a good bit with us on that work at the breakdown, getting our cleanouts, and getting a good ball carry as well. When we get it right, it makes a huge difference.

"I thought Connacht were good in that area, Bundee [Aki] and Conor Oliver were brilliant over the ball, and they really made it tough for us. They slowed the ball down with those two-man hits, trying to hold us up or reef the ball, slowed us up that way.

“Full credit to them for that, they did slow us down and from our perspective, there’s always rucks you look back on that could be better but certainly there is always a balance. Connacht came in with a good game plan, slowed us down at times, and got a couple of turnovers. They were good and we can be better.

“We were really pleased with some parts of the game. I thought the lineout was really good, our maul drive was good, and then there were a few things like maybe the ruck could have been a bit better.

“I thought we could have worked a bit harder. We could have taken advantage of a few more opportunities in their 22 but overall, it was pleasing,” albeit that he acknowledges that Leinster will have to be better again at the Aviva Stadium to progress.