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Leinster looking for repeat of pool stage success

Friday 18th December 2020

4:25 pm (GMT)

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Leinster looking for repeat of pool stage success

Leinster Rugby's Garry Ringrose scores a try against Northampton Saints last season

Leinster Rugby return to the Aviva Stadium with a chance to go two from two in the Heineken Champions Cup, if they can see off 2020 quarter-finalists Northampton Saints in Dublin on Saturday.

The Irish province landed two wins over Northampton in last season’s pool stages, but both sides were beaten at the last eight stage. The English side were beaten 16-12 in their season opener against Bordeaux-Begles, whereas Leinster picked up all five points on the road in Montpellier.

You can watch the match from 13:00 (UK and Irish time), live on Channel 4, Virgin Media, BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.

Key quote

Garry Ringrose (Leinster): “They all kind of act as motivators. I know a big one was being in Bilbao and winning there a couple of years back. When you have amazing moments like that, you’re chasing those moments, but equally, the disappointments against [ASM] Clermont [Auvergne] in Lyon that I was involved in, then Newcastle against Saracens and then the quarter-final more recently against Saracens are all massive motivating factors. Even watching Exeter lift the trophy, that’s another motivator to try and give ourselves the opportunity to be there, so they all contribute.”

Match facts

  • Leinster and Northampton have met nine times before with Saints picking up just one victory
    in that time (L8), that victory coming in Ireland in December 2013.
  • Leinster have won their last 13 home games in the pool stage of the Heineken Champions
    Cup, RC Toulon in December 2015 were the last travelling side to taste victory against them.
  • Northampton have conceded 50+ points in each of their last two away games against
    Leinster, losing 13-60 in December 2016 and 21-50 in December 2019.
  • Leinster conceded just seven penalties in Round 1 of the Heineken Champions Cup last
    weekend, only Exeter (also 7) conceded as few.
  • Northampton were one of four sides not to miss a kick at goal in the opening round of the
    Heineken Champions Cup, Dan Biggar slotting all four of his penalty attempts.

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Leinster grind out bonus point win over Northampton

Saturday 19th December 2020

3:11 pm (GMT)

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Leinster grind out bonus point win over Northampton

Leinster's Jamison Gibson-Park celebrates scoring a try

Leinster Rugby proved too strong for Northampton Saints as they secured a 35-19 bonus point win in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts never looked likely to be turned over by the Gallagher Premiership strugglers, who performed admirably to challenge the four-time winners throughout the match in Dublin.

Leinster made the perfect start, splitting open the Northampton defence with relative ease after a home scrum on halfway, with Garry Ringrose darting past his man and getting tackled close to the Saints line.

One phase later, European debutant Josh Murphy was able to bulldoze his way over for the opening try.

A second soon followed as Northampton’s scrum was turned over, allowing to Leinster tap and drive for the line. The initial charge was stopped but the second move from Cian Healy would not be denied as he powered over.

Northampton responded and bagged tries either side of a Ross Byrne penalty to cut the gap to three.

They first scored through Fraser Dingwall who found the perfect line, splitting the Leinster forwards in front of the posts and dived over.

The second came from Tom James who dummied and picked a gap before having the power to get over the line.

Just before the break, Leinster extended the lead to eight as Jamison Gibson-Park sprayed the ball out wide and as Northampton missed the chance to intercept, Dave Kearney collected and dived over in emphatic fashion.

The two tries in the second period came inside the first seven minutes, as Gibson-Park first ran in for Leinster but shortly after, Nick Isiekwe charged down a clearing kick, collected and scored.

That meant Leinster had bagged a try bonus point and saw out the match with ease, with Byrne slotting over two more three-pointers to add further gloss to the score.

The two sides will meet again in Round 3 at Franklin’s Gardens.

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