Friday 2 December 2016

'Scarlets clash will separate men from the boys' - Boss

Michael Verney

Published 16/10/2015 | 02:30

Isaac Boss believes the performance against the Scarlets will offer an early-season litmus test for Leinster
Isaac Boss believes the performance against the Scarlets will offer an early-season litmus test for Leinster

Isaac Boss expects a stiff examination of Leinster's exciting young talent when they make the trip to face Guinness Pro12 table-toppers Scarlets tonight.

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Leo Cullen's makeshift squad impressed in their 37-13 victory over the Dragons at the RDS two weeks ago but a bigger test awaits in Llanelli.

The experienced scrum-half (35) recognises the scale of the task against the impressive Welsh side and feels the performance will provide an accurate early-season assessment.

"Scarlets has always been a tough place for us to go and play, even when we're both full strength. They play a good brand of rugby and they've got a really good record at home," Boss says.

"It's a good chance for us to measure ourselves and this is probably a bigger opportunity than the young guys have had so far. If we can topple them it's a big feat and it's huge for our season.

"It probably separates the men from the boys a little bit. It would be really good to see a few of the younger guys put their hands up and take these opportunities for future prospects."

The 22-time Irish international is hugely impressed with the attitude of Leinster's rookies thus far and feels there is a bright provincial future ahead.

The injection of youth and their thirst to start has boosted the more experienced campaigners. However, Boss also knows how quickly the bubble can burst.

"It gives a boost and having the window of the World Cup is a good thing. Otherwise the younger talent might not get the opportunity, that's the exciting thing," he adds.

"It's shown the depth we have at the minute. But the last match means nothing if we don't go out and perform tonight. It's all forgotten about pretty easily then."

Despite narrowly missing out on Joe Schmidt's World Cup squad and enjoying a successful career, Boss enjoys demonstrating his value all over again.

"The younger guys have really stepped up and as one of the more senior players, I've really enjoyed being in the environment and seeing that attitude," he says.

Respect

"They're putting their hands up and they've got to prove their worth. So I've got to prove my worth to them and that's the state of mind you're going out there with.

"In any team environment you have to earn each other's respect and that's the way I'm going about it.

"I'm proving that I should be in there with those young lads as well, instead of some other guy that they've played with more growing up."

As fly-half, Boss is working at close quarters with two hugely-talented out-halves in Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne and helping to guide their development.

And with Johnny Sexton to return after World Cup duty, he foresees a huge battle ahead as Leinster's conveyor belt continues to churn out talented players.

"You guys will only see the stuff that's happening on the pitch, we deal with them day-to-day and that's where you earn the respect of your team-mates a lot," he says.

"Those two guys have really stepped up and they're great prospects for the future. There is going to be a definite battle there for the 10 spot.

"All across the board there are a number of young guys who are impressing me."

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