Leinster vs Northampton Saints
Competition: European Rugby Champions Cup
Date: 17 December 2016
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
Northampton are in a bit of bother at the bottom of Pool 4, and on the other side of it, Leinster are flying at the top. However, both of these teams do not occupy those spaces wholly to themselves as Leinster are being chased by Montpellier one point back while Saint are only one point off Castres at the bottom.
There is still everything to play for for the Saint, but they will have it tough going against a rampant Leinster side at home, and they will know they will have to be far better than they were last week. Northampton have struggled all year really, and there is talk of dissension in the camp as even their domestic form is nowhere near where it needs to be. On top of all that, their captain ,and England captain, has been banned for striking – bad boy Dylan Hartley returned to his old ways when not under Jones’ tutelage. There is a lot of work to be done, but more than that, the Saints look like they need to get their heads in the right space.
Fo Leinster, they have gotten over their early loss in the European Cup to dominate ever since, they are on top with 11 points, but Montpellier are chasing them and look to be setting up an interesting return clash there that will no doubt determine the makeup of the group. Leinster have been on form domestically, and they are looking to carry that through to Europe, a place that has not been a happy hunting ground for them for some time now.
Leinster vs Northampton Saints: Previous encounter
The Saint were definitely rocked by the return, and then subsequent departure of their heroic captain, no longer on Eddie Jones’ leash, Hartley reacted in his old ways with a swinging arm in a tackle. Leinster were already cruising, and the game ended 37-10 as they scored their points through tries from Gary Ringrose, Isa Nacewa and Sean O’Brien, as well as two tries from players off the bench as the game opened up towards the end.
Leinster vs Northampton Saints: Prediction
The Saints are a quality outfit, and should be doing better domestically just for starters, but they have something going wrong for them and that needs to be sorted before they turn the corner. It is unlikely that they will be turning any corners in this trip to Leinster as the Irish team will look to do the double over them.
Leinster vs Northampton Saints: Tips
The Saints showed they can keep things tight and stem the Irish side, as they managed to keep the score down to 10-3 at the break. They no doubt will try this again, and probably be better at it, so bet on the winning margin to be less than last week.