Rugby The forms Welsh Premiership wing who is the talk...

The forms Welsh Premiership wing who is the talk of English rugby after a stunning try


Four years ago his decisive touchdown guided Bridgend Ravens to a 19-15 Welsh Cup final win over Pontypridd at the Principality Stadium.

Now Brixton-born try Tom O'Flaherty finds himself the talk of English rugby after a stunning solo score helped Exeter Chiefs book in Twickenham date with European champions Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership final.

The Chiefs reached a fourth successive premiership final after beating play-off rivals Northampton Saints 42-12 at Sandy Park.

And for Cardiff University student O'Flaherty, it was an eventful Saturday afternoon down in Devon.

Having been yellow carded earlier in the match, the 24-year-old, who lined up alongside Welsh international Alex Cuthbert on the Exeter wing, more than made up for his 10 minutes in the cooler with an eye-popping second-half try.

Latching onto a midfield pass, O'Flaherty ignited his after-burners on an arcing run that scorched the Exeter turf and left Welsh star Dan Biggar and Tom Collins grasping thin air in the Northampton back field.

It was a try that became something of a trademark at the Brewery Field, but despite cutting a dash in the Principality Premiership, it managed just five games for the Ospreys in the 2016-17 season.

And now the prospect of lining up against Liam Williams and Saracens next Saturday is a world away from his life in Wales.

But he told the BBC earlier this season: "It's almost like climbing a ladder.

"When I was at university and I started playing in the Welsh premiership you are aware that you play well for Bridgend you have a chance for the Ospreys.

"They expressed an interest, so I wanted to progress there and then when I did the opportunity to come to Exeter presented itself.

"When you find yourself here you don't want to make the numbers."

O’Flaherty grew up in London and played his rugby for Dulwich College and then Blackheath before moving to Wales to study in Cardiff.

After making his mark in college level, he got his chance with Cardiff RFC towards the end of 2013 and turned out for them four times, scoring four tries.

Then came the move to Bridgend, where he was to become a firm favorite, touching down 18 times during 25 appearances in the 2014-15 season.

He spent a season in France, combining a university placement with a stint in the rugby academy of French Top 14 site Montpellier, but returned to Wales for the final year of his studies, taking up joint registration with Bridgend and the Ospreys.

He made his regional debut against Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Now within two years of leaving South Wales for Devon, O'Flaherty could find himself with a Gallagher Premiership winner's medal having played his part in getting the Chiefs to Twickenham.

(tagsToTranslate) Welsh Premiership (s) Ospreys (t) Bridgend RFC


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