Sunday 11 December 2016

Boss happy to plough on with Blues rotation role

Published 05/04/2011 | 05:00

Isaac Boss Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile
Isaac Boss Photo: Paul Mohan / Sportsfile

Media duties fulfilled, Isaac Boss scampers back to the game of keep-ball the Leinster squad are playing. He double-times it; Eoin Reddan is already out there.

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It was put to Boss that there's a pattern behind his selection in the No 9 shirt. For away trips to big, physical sides, Joe Schmidt turns to him. Otherwise Reddan is in.

"I have never really noticed that one! Are you telling me I'm not starting this weekend?

"I'd be a bit disappointed with that one," he said, smiling, but there appears to be some merit in the suggestion.

Both his starts in the Heineken Cup this season came on French soil against Clermont and Racing Metro, and he also got he nod for last weekend's trip to Thomond.

"I want to be playing more and Redzer doesn't want to be giving up those games as well. We'd both like it to go the other way once we both get on the pitch. We are good mates, there is good banter between us. It's competitive," said Boss.

While Boss did very little wrong against Munster, Schmidt is tipped to revert to Reddan and Jonathan Sexton for Saturday's clash at Lansdowne Road -- the pair got the better of Leicester half-back duo Ben Youngs and Toby Flood when Ireland played England in the Six Nations.

"They (Youngs and Flood) are very good, they're international players and they'll have a point to prove from the last time they were at the Aviva," Boss said. "I'm sure they'll play a lot better than they did when they were with the English team, so we'll see."

It would be hard on Boss were he dropped, but it's just one of a number of tough calls Schmidt will have to make when he names his team at lunchtime on Friday.

Shane Jennings is edging towards fitness ahead of the game against his former club and if he was reinstated, it would likely see Sean O'Brien revert to blindside and Kevin McLaughlin ousted.

There are also major considerations in the front-row, where Leicester are particularly strong, even in the absence of the suspended Marcos Ayerza.

They forced a penalty try in their 17-13 win over Conor O'Shea's Harlequins last weekend -- although the London side were down to 13 men at that stage.

Cian Healy and Mike Ross would seem to be in pole position for selection but Heinke van der Merwe and Stan Wright are serious options for the repeat of the 2009 Heineken Cup final.

Yesterday morning's team meeting was dedicated to picking through the embers of Saturday night's defeat to Munster.

"Everyone is very disappointed, especially after a last-minute loss. You're not going to be too happy after that," said Boss.

"We're on to the Heineken Cup now, the Magners League takes a back step for a wee while and we have to move on quickly otherwise we will be left behind.

"All the guys are disappointed with themselves -- a chance slipped away. (Joe's) not backwards in coming forward, he calls a spade a spade and a lot of us had mistakes at the weekend. We have to put it right."

Saturday's defeat means Leinster are in fourth spot in the Magners League -- just four points ahead of Cardiff, who have a game in hand.

Ulster and Glasgow at home and Aironi away are still to come, meaning a semi-final spot is far from assured, but for now it's all about the Heineken Cup.

"Leicester are a physical, attacking team but we didn't do a lot of attacking at the weekend so we will just worry about ourselves -- get our own shop in order," said Boss.

Irish Independent

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