ISAAC BOSS admits Leinster are ‘hurting’ and need to redeem themselves after losing all but one of their opening four Magners League fixtures.
That start represents their worst to a campaign since the 2003/04 season when, under Australian Gary Ella, the province suffered reversals against Munster, the Celtic Warriors and Edinburgh with the sole win coming against the Ospreys.
Lose again, to Munster, on Saturday and Leinster will have equalled their worst ever start to a season in the professional era – the 2002-/03 season when an opening win over Pontypridd was followed by four consecutive defeats.
“The boys are just looking forward to having any match to try and redeem ourselves,” said Boss. “We’ve had three away trips so far so getting a home match is important for us.
“There are a few different factors there but we’re all hurting from the last few weeks.”
Boss is no stranger to the unique demands of interpro fixtures having spent five seasons on Ulster’s books at Ravenhill.
And Munster will be arriving in Dublin eager to end a run of four straight defeats against the old enemy.
“We’re going to have to be physical up front and the backs as well, especially for the first 20 or 30-odd minutes and right through the 80 minutes. It’s just going to be body on body and everyone flying into things. It will be a war of attrition.”
The Munster tie kickstarts what will be a crucial period for Leinster’s ambitions this season. Racing Metro are due at the RDS a week later for the Heineken Cup opener and Leinster are in Wembley against Saracens seven days later.
They approach all that on the back of a plethora of worrying signs, something borne out by Boss who pointed to errors made in attack and defence when asked where exactly the side needed to brush up in the weeks to come.
“We’ve got to hold the ball better. We leaked a few tries last week. It’s more about worrying about ourselves, tightening up our defence and stuff like that. As individuals, we’ve got to make sure we look after our own shop first and hopefully that will put our team in good stead.”
Leinster haven’t been helped by the whirlwind of personnel changes foisted upon the provinces by the IRFU’s rotation policy for internationals or injuries to a handful of players including Jonathan Sexton who may yet make his first start in Dublin 4.
There is a similar air of uncertainty over who will start at scrum-half against Tony McGahan’s visitors. Boss got the nod on the first two weekends and has impressed that bit more than Eoin Reddan who he has replaced in more recent weeks.
“I don’t know. Look, hopefully I am starting. Everyone wants to start. I’ve just been trying to push hard these last few weeks. Hopefully I’m in the 22 to start with. I won’t take anything like that for granted and we’ll go from there.”
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