Belfast Telegraph

Taking on best is exactly what Connacht want, enthuses Boyle


Fired up: Connacht’s Paul Boyle is relishing challenge
Fired up: Connacht’s Paul Boyle is relishing challenge

By John Fallon

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.

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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 last term.

"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. 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.

"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," he said.

"You can see that with the likes of Jack Carty and Bundee Aki going to the World Cup. That's all I focus on, playing the best rugby I can for Connacht and seeing where that gets me."

Connacht's outside hopes of advancing to the knockout stages 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 excellent results at the start of 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," he added.

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