Exeter winger Tom O’Flaherty’s approach to some place at the upper side in English rugby has been far from traditional.
Over two years ago he had been studying for a French degree when playing Bridgend from the Welsh Premiership and trying to enter the Ospreys’ Pro 12 side.
Fast forward to 20-19 and O’Flaherty has only scored his first European try and is set to play arguably Exeter’s biggest game of this season.
“You need some sort of confidence about you,” that the 24-year-old Londoner informs BBC Sport on a murky day in Sandy Park.
He’s preparing for Exeter’s make or break visit to Munster in their final European Champions Cup pool game.
Following his touchdown that sealed that a bonus-point triumph against French champions Castres last Sunday, another victory could see the Chiefs claim an improbable place in the last eight.
“If you never think you’re going to be in this position, and you also can’t wind up being in this particular position, then you probably will not be in it,” said O’Flaherty.
“But things have enabled me opportunities to enter the team and I’d like to think that up to this point I have been able to take them”
From Blackheath into the Champions Cup, via Wales
Exeter’s type of play, which regularly sees the wingers simply take possession in midfield, has obtained somewhat of modification for O’Flaherty.
But he believes that his entire game has improved under director of rugby Rob Baxter and head coach Ali Hepher.
“You’re not only on the end of things here, you’re definitely going to stay the middle of things and you have got to improve your ball abilities and better your decision,” he states.
“It’s pretty unconventional for a winger, but it’s really conducive to improving your rugby.”
When everybody else is fit in Exeter, O’Flaherty knows he will have a job in his hands to stay in the lineup.
However, the fact that he has never looked out of place at a team who are just four points clear on top of the Premiership way there was simply too much pressure on Exeter’s more well-known titles to oust him, as there’s on him to attempt to stay in.
“We’re in a fortunate spot here in that there’s so much competition, so that it forces you to progress, you can’t take your foot off the gas in any respect,” he adds.
“Everyone knows that if you have an off day that you most likely will not be playing the next week”