Saturday 29 July 2017

Leinster look to Boss for Thomond showdown

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

Hugh Farrelly

Leinster look set to turn to Isaac Boss at scrum-half in a 'horses-for-courses' selection for tomorrow's sold-out Magners League showdown with Munster in Thomond Park.

Boss did not feature for Ireland in the Six Nations, with Leinster colleague Eoin Reddan finishing the campaign in superb form as first-choice scrum-half. But, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has rotated the pair successfully this season, particularly in away games, and Boss' greater physicality would be effective against Munster's powerful back-row.

Elsewhere, Schmidt could turn to a clutch of Ireland's Six Nations starters as he looks for a confidence-boosting win ahead of Leinster's Heineken Cup tie with Leicester the following week.

This could see Cian Healy and Mike Ross start in the front-row, with Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien coming into the back-row, possibly alongside Kevin McLaughlin.

Jonathan Sexton is expected to be at out-half with Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll in midfield. After being dropped from full-back against England, Luke Fitzgerald may line out in his more natural left-wing position with Isa Nacewa at 15 and Shane Horgan winning his 200th cap on the right.

Meanwhile, Munster flanker Alan Quinlan is "keeping his options open" regarding his playing future after speculation yesterday that he is ready to announce his retirement after more than 200 appearances for the province.

Ulster have announced the capture of former New Zealand U21 international Jared Payne on a three-year contract.

LEINSTER (possible) -- I Nacewa; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, I Boss; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross; L Cullen (capt), N Hines; K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

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