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Van der Flier beams as he gets special gift from Irish NFL star Daniel Whelan

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JOSH VAN DER FLIER met his fellow Wicklow-native superstar Daniel Whelan during Ireland’s Captain’s Run on Friday.

Van der Flier and Ireland close out their Six Nations campaign at home to Scotland on Saturday as they look to close out the title.

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Ireland held their Captain’s Run on Friday
Van Der Flier traded jerseys with Irish NFL star Daniel Whelan

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Van Der Flier traded jerseys with Irish NFL star Daniel Whelan

Fans congregated in the Aviva Stadium on Friday afternoon to catch a glimpse of their rugby heroes.

Among those in attendance was Daniel Whelan, who is back on Irish soil following his debut season with the Green Bay Packers.

Whelan – who originally hails from Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow – became the first Irishman to start in the NFL since Neil O’Donoghue in 1985.

The 25-year-old punter’s maiden year in the league could not have gone much better as the Packers made it to the play-offs.

Green Bay claimed the scalp of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC wildcard play-off game, with Whelan kicking three punts to within ten yards of the endzone in the 48-32 win.

With the season long-since completed, Whelan jetted back to Ireland for a short holiday and took in the Captain’s Run as part of it.

Not only that, but the former Greystones RFC out-half made his way to pitchside at Lansdowne Road, where he met fellow Garden sportsmen Josh van der Flier.

The former World Player of the Year, who grew up in Wicklow Town, exchanged an Ireland jersey for a Green Bay top, with ‘Whelan 19’ on the back.

JEOPARDY

The Boys in Green go into their final day meeting against Scotland with a lot more jeopardy than will have been expected.

The script appeared to be written for Andy Farrell’s team to win back-to-back Grand Slams when James Lowe touched down in the final ten minutes at Twickenham last weekend.

Watch Tommy Bowe’s priceless reaction to Ireland’s last second Six Nations loss to England

However, a last-second Marcus Smith drop goal condemned them to defeat to England in London.

The Six Nations title is still very much up for grabs, with a win or draw against the Tartan Men guaranteeing consecutive Championships.

A defeat would bag Peter O’Mahony and co. the title, so long as other results go their way.

The Munster forward was part of the squad that won the 2015 Six Nations on points difference.

A 41-point win for Wales against Italy meant Ireland needed a winning margin of 21 against Scotland.

They won 40-10 but still required England not to beat France by 26 points or more. They won 55-35.

And while the Ireland captain said he was happy for there to be so many teams in contention in 2024, he is hopeful that there won’t be the same level of drama.

He recalled: “That was the mad day, was it? Yeah, no, it was torture.

“Wales went out and put up a big score, then we did the job and then it was pure carnage the last game.

“I’m sure it was a great watch for the rest of the world.

“I remember watching it from the stairwell in Murrayfield, praying to God, so, look, that’s what the Super Saturday means for the competition.

“It’s great that there are so many teams involved that can win it.”

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