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Unbeaten sides clash in Pool 1 blockbuster

Thursday 5th December 2019

10:33 am (GMT)

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Unbeaten sides clash in Pool 1 blockbuster

Leinster's Jordan Larmour

Unbeaten rivals clash in Pool 1 of the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday as Leinster Rugby travel to Franklin’s Gardens to face Northampton Saints, live on Channel 4 and Virgin Media as well as BT Sport from 13:00 GMT.

The two sides both have nine points from two matches after victories over Lyon and Benetton who face off at the same time.

Key quotes

Chris Boyd (Northampton): “We’re starting to get a collective style that everyone’s happy with; everyone’s bought into it and we’re getting better at playing it.”

Jordan Larmour (Leinster): “Saints are a very good attacking side, good kicking game and good defence. We’re going to have to be switched on.”

Key facts

  • Leinster have won their last eight pool games against Gallagher Premiership opposition in the Heineken Champions Cup, with their last such defeat coming in Round 6 in 2015/16 against Wasps.
  • Northampton have won their opening two games and they’ve not enjoyed a longer winning run in Europe’s top flight since four straight victories during the 2014/15 pool stage.
  • Leinster have won 18 of their last 20 Heineken Champions Cup games (L2), with their only defeats coming last season away to Toulouse in the pool stage and against Saracens in the final.
  • Saints have kicked nine penalty goals in the opening two rounds, more than any other side.
  • Leinster have the best tackle success rate this season, completing 90% of attempts.
  • Garry Ringrose (Leinster) is one of three players to score three tries this season (also Benetton’s Epalahame Faiva and Joe Simpson of Gloucester).
  • Three of the six players to make 5+ clean breaks could feature in this match – Northampton Saints duo Cobus Reinach and Tom Collins, and Leinster’s Josh van der Flier (5 each).

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Seven-try Leinster lay down Heineken Champions Cup marker

Saturday 7th December 2019

3:14 pm (GMT)

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Seven-try Leinster lay down Heineken Champions Cup marker

Ross Byrne in Heineken Champions Cup action for Leinster Rugby

Leinster Rugby laid down a Heineken Champions Cup marker on Saturday in Pool 1 as they scored seven tries in a 43-16 win over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

Leinster started the strongest and took full advantage of some sloppy Northampton passing on three minutes, allowing Jordan Larmour to sprint clear before releasing James Lowe for the easiest of tries, with Johnny Sexton converting.

Northampton would respond immediately with some powerful running, working back along the left side and opening up the overlap for Ahsee Tuala to dive over in the corner.

The Irish province stretched ahead again after 16 minutes when Sexton brought the ball up to the line and released Larmour who stepped past his man and found Jamison Gibson-Park. He fell just short of the try line but Rhys Ruddock could power over two phases later.

Dan Biggar was able to chip into the Leinster lead with a trio of three-pointers but they fell behind again just before the interval.

It was a driving maul that was stopped close to the line before the forwards did the damage with penalty advantage as Andrew Porter powered over.

Leinster then took over in the second half with two tries in as many minutes after the break.

The first came on 46 after Larmour made another terrific break and it was Cian Healy who powered his way over the line.

And then two minutes later, a delightful break from Gibson-Park released the forwards to edge towards the line until Ross Byrne picked a hole in the Northampton line and danced over for a fifth Leinster try.

Northampton dominated the final 25 minutes but failed to convert pressure into points and when Leinster escaped, they grabbed a sixth score through Luke McGrath and a seventh through Ed Byrne

The two sides will do battle again next week at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

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