JOE SCHMIDT WILL be targeting Leinster’s four games, during the Six Nations window, for a clean sweep of wins and a charge on Pro12 leaders Ulster.
While Schmidt must do without a large contingent of his Irish players – Rhys Ruddock was the latest to receive a call-up – he can rely on the likes of Shane Jennings, Ian Madigan, Leo Cullen and Isaac Boss.
On Friday, the Blues will take on Cardiff at the Arms Park and Boss, after two weeks off to freshen up his ‘mind and body’, is delighted to be back in rugby mode.
He told TheScore.ie, “It’s not (difficult) in terms of getting yourself up for it. I’ve played at the Arm’s Park a few times, a lot of guys might not have, it’s a tough place to go.”
Boss added, “We are missing a few lads, but that’s great because it gives other guys opportunities.
“It’s definitely not tough to get up for, we can’t wait for this game to come around….. especially not after the training we did last week. We’d rather have a game than doing fitness and stuff like that.”
Boss was in the extended Ireland squad that trained at Carton House last month but he was released back to Leinster after starting as sub in the Wolfhounds defeat to England.
He admits that is has been hard to watch the progress on the Irish team from the middle distance.
“Yeah it always is [hard],” he admits, “as any person who aspires to be in those teams.
You enjoy watching it, but it’s always a little jab in the ribs because you want to be there and you’re not. They all deserve to be there and full credit to them.
“I look forward to watching the rest of the Six Nations as well, if they carry on that form.”
The scrum-half, who has often been preferred to Eoin Reddan for Leinster this season, believes he can still force his way into the Six Nations reckoning.
Boss commented, “It’s not just myself, it’s guys like Paul Marshall who are probably wishing they were there as well. And other guys in different positions in our squad.
“We can only put ourselves forward to that sort of level is to play well for Leinster.”
Boss says there is a ‘friendly rivalry’ with scrum-half John Cooney. (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)
While many of the Leinster playing contingent could refocus on the Six Nations, those left at basecamp have been left to chew the cud on the province’s Heineken Cup elimination last month.
Boss admits the hurt has yet to subside but adds that the team has to move on. He said:
We’re still in the hunt for a few trophies and that starts this weekend with Cardiff over there in the Rabo. We’re in a good position in the league, we fought our way back up but as you can see it’s really tight and a loss could push is right back down the table.
“We’ve really got to got there with a ruthlessness to get points.”
The Tokoroa native insists that the league has held a dual-priority with European ambitions, especially with Leinster’s close calls in recent years.
Following the Cardiff game, Leinster have home matches against Treviso and Scarlets. A spot in the top four could be secured by the team the weary Irish players rejoin Boss and Schmidt.
*Additional reporting by Sean Farrell