'We don't want to let this massive opportunity slip' - Connacht's birthday boy Boyle hoping for gift of win over Toulouse
Paul Boyle will be hoping for an early birthday present when Connacht take on Toulouse tomorrow in the sort of Champions Cup fixture that prompted the Wexford native to move west from Leinster.
He will be 23 on Tuesday and with 11 starts and one appearance off the bench so far he is well on target to matching the 22 games he played in his breakthrough season at the Sportsground last term.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
"I grew up watching this competition and the last couple of years we have been striving to get into it. Now that we are here we don't want to let this massive opportunity slip," Boyle said.
"It is playing against teams like Toulouse, one of the best in Europe, that is what we have been looking for the last two years. You just can't let these type of opportunities slip and we know that we have to put in a good performance."
His swashbuckling style has made him a fans' favourite, and while the competition for the Irish back row is intense, Boyle knows he's not far off and is following a very simple philosophy in that regard.
"I just want to play as best as I can. I know from talking to the team here who have been in contact with them, if you are playing well you are going to get picked.
"You can see that with the likes of Jack Carty and Bundee going to the World Cup. If you are playing good enough rugby you are going to get picked. That is all I am focused on, playing the best rugby I can and seeing where that gets me."
Connacht's outside hopes of advancing to the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup for the first time hang in the balance but a win over four-time champions Toulouse tomorrow should keep them alive for the final round in Montpellier.
Boyle said they need to rediscover the sort of clinical form which netted them some excellent results early in the season.
"We will be looking to more of the start of the season, and looking to the training pitch as well. We are picking out small parts of each game and we haven't quite put it together yet. That is what we are looking to do on Saturday.
"It is tough, in a team that is not performing too well, to really shine. With the few boys we have back in this week, I think we are going to put in a good performance. Then from an individual point of view it is easier to stand out as such.
"It is the bigger teams I want to play against. That is where you want to test yourself, test yourself against the best to see where you actually stand," added Boyle.