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    SPORT NEWS

    Boss expects tough final

    by Michelle Fortune , 01 May 2012

    Isaac Boss has stressed the need for improvement if Leinster are to deny Ulster a first Heineken Cup win in 13 years.


    Leinster came through a bruising encounter against Clermont Auvergne to set up an all-Irish final at Twickenham on May 19 but there were a number of aspects to their play that will have worried coach Joe Schmidt.

    Ulster had defeated Edinburgh less than 24 hours earlier to book their place in the decider, the first time in 13 years that have reached the final, and Boss is looking forward to what he is sure will be an emotional day for him given his ties with the northern province.

    "They’ve come a long way in this competition. They had a tough pool as well and to get to the final from there is a good effort by them," Boss said of Ulster, a club he spent five years with. "We’ll keep in touch with them in the next few weeks and I’m sure there’ll be a bit of banter going on amongst us all.

    "No doubt it’s going to be a special occasion for me. I saw the emotion on all the Ulster boys’ faces on Saturday after their match. That’s going to bring something into it.

    "We haven’t had a chance to think about that yet. We have to regroup after this one before we even start contemplating Ulster.

    "We have another couple of weeks’ matches to get through. We’re fighting for the league and that’s important to us as a group. There’s a lot of rugby to be played. None of our teams will look far ahead. We’ll focus on performing week in, week out because we all want to make that final team."

    Leinster trailed Clermont at the interval but a Cian Healy try after the break gave them the lead and they had to fight to the final whistle to prevent the French side from claiming an historic victory.

    Leo Cullen, Rob Kearney and Brian O'Driscoll all voiced concerns about aspects of their play and Boss admits there was an overriding sense of relief at the final whistle.

    "Of course we’re happy about the win but we know that there’s a long way to go yet. We haven’t really achieved anything. We’ve just made the final, that’s all. We didn’t do it the pretty way either. To be honest, it was more relief in the end," Boss added in the Irish Examiner.

    "We held out so well and revealed a lot of character in the team. We know that there are a lot of parts of our game that were a bit scrappy as well. That probably happens in big games like this but we could have played a lot better. I’m very happy to be in the final."

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