Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has sprung a surprise by naming Isaac Boss at scrum-half for this afternoon’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont-Auvergne (-1 Match Handicap). Boss is preferred to Eoin Reddan in the number nine role for the game against the French outfit in Bordeaux.
In addition to that change Gordon D'Arcy returns to partner Brian O'Driscoll at centre with Isa Nacewa and Luke Fitzgerald named on the wings for Leinster (+1 Match Handicap). Shane Jennings is preferred to Kevin McLaughlin in a back row which also welcomes back Jamie Heaslip. Nacewa takes over from David Kearney for the Heineken Cup holders with D'Arcy's inclusion seeing Fergus McFadden dropping to the bench.
Their opponents Clermont (5/6 to win the match) make changes of their own in anticipation of a physical contest. French international fly-half David Skrela is ruled out for Clermont by a thigh injury so Australian Brock James will start at number 10 for Vern Cotter's side. Their formidable back division includes French internationals Aurelien Rougerie, Morgan Parra, Wesley Fofana and Julien Malzieu along with Welsh star Lee Byrne and All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu.
Nathan Hines, who lifted the trophy last year with Leinster (Evens to win the match), will feature against his old club and is looking forward to it. Hines said, “If we wanted to go far in Europe we knew one time or another we would have to cross paths. Joe and Vern spent a lot of time together and they will try to out-fox each other so it just comes down to the day."