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Sunday 19 November 2017

Leinster getting ‘desperate’ in hunt for form, admits Boss

Isaac Boss
Isaac Boss
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

ISAAC BOSS has billed Saturday's lunchtime duel between Leinster and Scarlets as a desperation derby.

The New Zealand-born Ireland international made his return to action on Saturday evening for the province's 'A' side and could come into the first team for the second match of the champions' three-in-a-row bid.

After last weekend's lucky win over the Exeter Chiefs and a difficult opening to the season, Joe Schmidt's men are scrambling to put together some form and get a crucial away win in Llanelli.

Their hosts have admitted that they are in a must-win scenario after opening their campaign with a hammering in Clermont. That 49-16 defeat is all the more grating as the Welsh side were level coming up to half-time, when winger Morgan Stoddart received a second yellow card.

The Scarlets put 45 points on Leinster on the opening day of the season, Boss' last appearance. The scrum-half injured his elbow that day, but is hoping to make his comeback at the same venue.

"We both have a bit of desperation about us," he admitted. "After that performance, and the pool that we are in, we have to be really strong this week to make sure we are still in Europe, and obviously they want to get their foot back in the door after last weekend, so it's going to tight."

With the likes of Rhys Priestland, Scott Evans, Jonathan Davies and powerhouse George North behind the scrum, Boss reckons that Simon Easterby's charges cannot be given any front-foot ball.

"If you give them that momentum they run with it, so you can't give them a sniff from the start," he said. "Our performances have been a mixed bag, some good ones and some poor ones. It just comes down to individuals, we have to look after our own shop and then collectively it comes together.

"We've let a couple of chances slip. Last weekend we didn't play that great but we got away with the win. We held them to no tries, which is a big feat considering they've been playing really well.

"But we've got to step it up this week, especially in attack; if we can keep it going on defence and then create a bit more in attack then hopefully we'll come out on top. It's a very fine line, if we can get a couple of those going our way, then momentum shifts."

Boss revealed that the replacements who weren't used against Exeter asked to be involved in the 'A' side's clash with Leeds Carnegie. The scrum-half was joined on the field by Leo Auva'a, Jordi Murphy and Fionn Carr in going from the RDS to Donnybrook to tog out for the second time.

"A few of lads, especially myself, felt we needed a bit of game time," he explained. "We didn't get on (against Exeter), so we just asked for the opportunity and (Schmidt) said it was okay if (academy manager) Colin McEntee was keen to have us.

"There were guys already in those positions and it's hard on those young fellas who want their chance, but I was just happy to get out there for a bit of game time."

Irish Independent

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