Northampton v Leinster

Can Leinster maintain perfect record at Franklin’s Gardens against Northampton in Champions Cup?

Eamon Donoghue Fri, Dec 9
 
LIVE: Northampton v Leinster

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  • Hello and Welcome... Can Leinster continue one winning run, and end another less postive trend as they face Northampton Saints tonight?  

    Leo Cullen's team have two wins from two at Franklin’s Gardens - inflicting the English Premiership club's record home defeat in the competition in December 2013, their last visit to the grounds. Can they make it three from three tonight?

    In doing so they would be winning a first away game in the Champions Cup in eight, having managed just one draw in their last seven away games in Europe.

    Kick-off is at 7.45pm. Be sure to get in touch throughout - via either Twitter (@DonoghueEamon) or the comments section ('Contact Us' tab).

    Northampton Saints v  Leinster  Kick off:  19:45   Venue: Franklin’s Gardens. On TV: Live on BT Sport.

  • Gerry Thornley's lowdown

    NORTHAMPTON SAINTS:  B Foden; K Pisi, L Burrell, JJ Hanrahan, J Elliott; S Myler, N Groom; A Waller, M Haywood, P Hill, M Paterson, C Lawes, J Gibson, T Wood (c), L Picamoles.  Replacements:  D Hartley, E Waller, G Denman, A Ratuniyarawa, T Harrison, T Kessell, G Pisi, A Tuala.  

    LEINSTER:  R Kearney; A Byrne, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (c); J Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, H Triggs, S O’Brien, J Van Der Flier, J Heaslip. Replacements:  J Tracy, C Healy, M Bent, R Ruddock, J Conan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, R O’Loughlin.

    Referee:  Jerome Garces (France).  

    Overall head-to-head:  Played 5, Northampton 1 win, Leinster 4 wins.

    Betting  (Paddy Powers): 6/4 Northampton, 20/1 Draw, 8/13 Northampton. Handicap odds (Northampton +3 pts) 10/11 Northampton, 14/1 Draw, 10/11 Leinster.  

    Forecast:  Leinster to win.

  • <p><strong>A quick look at how the pool is looking ahead of tonight's game..</strong></p>
<p>Leinster's late comeback against Montpellier - denying them a bonus point and claiming one themselves in defeat - means that they top a fiercely competitive four-way fight for qualification after two rounds.</p>

    A quick look at how the pool is looking ahead of tonight's game..

    Leinster's late comeback against Montpellier - denying them a bonus point and claiming one themselves in defeat - means that they top a fiercely competitive four-way fight for qualification after two rounds.

  • The concussion panel review into the management of Northampton wing George North's head injury will come to its conclusion early next week. For now though the Welsh winger is  sidelined indefinitely.

    Former Munster outhalf JJ Hanrahan however does start, Gavin Cummiskey caught up with him during the week to talk about a possible Irish call-up, life in the English Premiership, and a possible end-of-season return to an Irish province:

    "What I’m trying to do is become the best player I can be, so that if the Irish opportunity ever opens up in the future that then I’m able to take it with both hands. That’s not to say I should be there now, but if it ever opens up I want to be ready to do that.”

    Read that piece in full here

  • Some pre-match snaps of the Leinster team
    Some pre-match snaps of the Leinster team
  • Johnny Watterson caught up with the fit-again Sean O'Brien during the week - and he is raring to go for tonight.  

    “Yeah, definitely, very fresh this week. I had a good week last week as well, got a lot of training under my belt and feeling very fit and back to myself the last few weeks and feeling excited. You want that bit of confidence.”

    Read that piece in full here

  • A little over five miutes to go 'till the action gets underway at  Franklin’s Gardens. It's a big game for Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery, both have demonstrated their sound temperament this season and will be required to step up again tonight.  


    Gerry Thornley believes that their`performances will have an important impact on the "two-legged battles" with Northampton. Read his preview here

  • Teams are coming out on to the field, here's another quick look at the line-ups:  


    NORTHAMPTON SAINTS:  B Foden; K Pisi, L Burrell, JJ Hanrahan, J Elliott; S Myler, N Groom; A Waller, M Haywood, P Hill, M Paterson, C Lawes, J Gibson, T Wood (c), L Picamoles.  Replacements:  D Hartley, E Waller, G Denman, A Ratuniyarawa, T Harrison, T Kessell, G Pisi, A Tuala.  


    LEINSTER:    R Kearney; A Byrne, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (c); J Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, H Triggs, S O’Brien, J Van Der Flier, J Heaslip. Replacements:  J Tracy, C Healy, M Bent, R Ruddock, J Conan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, R O’Loughlin.

  • And we are underway. Stephen Myler kicking us off in the 10 jersey for the home team. JJ Hanrahan concedes an early penalty
  • Northampton 0 Leinster 5(2') Early try for Garry Ringrose, soft hands by Rob Kearney to leave his number 13 with a free run under the posts. What a start!
  • Northampton 0 Leinster 7 (3') Isa Nacewa converts for the two points
  • Northampton's first possession, doesn't last long. A great rip from Tadhg Furlong. And the visitors have the ball again in the Northampton half
  • Northampton 0 Leinster 7 (8') Kearney makes another break, he's looking really sharp. Joey Carbery however knocks on and Northampton have the put in. Brilliant start by the visitors, really going for it early on.
  • Leinster turnover as Picamoles knocks on at the base of the scrum. Play delayed here as Carberry receives treatment for an ankle injury
  • Leinster with a dominant scrum, Luke McGrath breaks away but his chip is blocked down. Play brought back however for a Leinster penalty and Nacewa will go for the posts
  • Northampton 0 Leinster 10 (10') Nacewa splits the posts again. 10 points in 10 minutes. And Toner gathers the restart so they come again
  • High tackle on Rob Kearney earns Leinster a penalty. Carbery kicks for touch and Toner claims the lineout and a subsequent maul is set. Robbie Henshaw then breaks away but his offload doesn't quite stick. Yet another fine Leinster move but no end product this time
  • Northampton 0 Leinster 10 (15') Ross Byrne is on for Joey Carbery who limps off with that earlier ankle problem.  
  • Some kick-tennis there between Hanrahan and Byrne but Leinster concede a penalty for diving over the ruck.  
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (19') First Northampton points on the board from the resultant penalty. Myler makes no mistake from right in front of the posts
  • Sloppy knock on from a Leinster line-out allows Northampton to put play back in the visitor's half.
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (23')  Northampton kick and chase for the corner but Rob Kearney slides across to take it out. Northampton win the line-out. This is their first visit to the Leinster 22
  • They bring it from right to left, good Leinster defence and Kearney cuts out the final pass. Knocking on in doing so. Much better from the hosts
  • Brilliant tackles there from Henshaw, Jamie Heaslip and Kearney. Jamie Elliot meanwhile limps off injured and Ahsee Tuala is on
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (26')  In fact, Elliot deemed to have knocked that on before Kearney. So Leinster have the put-in and Luke McGrath clears his lines with plenty of distance
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (28') Northampton attack breaks down on the left,  Luke McGrath then kicks out on the full. Northampton have possession again but for the second time in a row a loose pass lets them down
  • Leinster lineout stolen. Nacewa however claims the Garryowen, and Jamie Gibson concedes a penalty for being offside (marginal decision). And Leinster can relieve the pressure
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (32') Leinster back in the Northampton 22' - first time in a while - but Josh van der Flier runs out of space. Northampton clear their lines and Leo Cullens's team come again.
  • This time Garry Ringrose is taken down, and wins a penalty as Northampton fail to release. Byrne kicks for the corner
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (35') Triggs gathers uncontested. Sean Cronin makes some yards and Leinster are five yards from the try line on the left
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (37')  Northampton holding firm and driving Leinster back. Great defence from the Saints
  • Tom Wood with a big hit, and Northampton turnover, allowing Ben Foden to clear his lines. Adam Byrne though claims and makes a fine break. Serious power from the young winger
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (39')  Sean O'Brien gathers a fortunate bouncing ball and crosses for what appears to be a second try. But the TMO sees a knock-on
  • One last attack before the break, Northampton see a mismatch on the left but the kick and chase trickles out of touch. On the stroke of 40 minutes
  • HT Northampton 3 Leinster 10 - Brilliant start by Leinster, 10 up in 10 minutes. But with Joey Carbery limping off they have spent much of the remainder of the half defending. Without being under too much pressure however. Still coming closer to adding the second try themselves
  • Leinster fans will be hoping that Joey Carbery's ankle injury isn't too serious. He tried to play on but was unable. Big test for third choice outhalf Ross Byrne
    Leinster fans will be hoping that Joey Carbery's ankle injury isn't too serious. He tried to play on but was unable. Big test for third choice outhalf Ross Byrne
  • No changes for either side at half time. Byrne gets the second half underway
  • Northampton 3 Leinster 10 (41') Leinster with possession after some kick-tennis. Just inside their own half. Big hits coming in from Northampton but Leinster still making yards
  • Rory O'Loughlin is on for Rob Kearney. Who was having an excellent game.

    Nacewa - who has just made a tasty kick into the corner - moves to fullback

  • Northampton win their own lineout though and Ben Foden clears his lines with plenty of distance. An excellent kick from the experienced fullback
  • Northampton 8 Leinster 10 (44') JJ Hanrahan to the fore as Northampton score an early second half TRY
  • Hanrahan makes the initial break, followed up by Gibson who brought his team right up to the line. Then with the penalty advantage a beautiful looping pass from Hanrahan again finds Tuala on the right wing and he crosses over with ease
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 10 (45') Myler adds the conversion, two from two for him. Lovely kick from the right sideline
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 10 (48') A great break from Sean O'Brien, Tom Wood comes in off his feet and Leinster have a penalty. A chance to go straight back in front
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 13 (49') What a kick, Nacewa from distance and it creeps over the bar. 100 per cent accuracy from him so far too
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 13 (51')  Northampton are straight back at it though. Furlong comes in over the top and they have a penalty. And Myler opts for the corner to pile the pressure on the visitors
  • Rhys Ruddock comes on for Triggs as Northampton knock on from that lineout. Let off for Leinster.  

    Northampton meanwhile have brought on England captain Dylan Hartley!

  • Northampton 10 Leinster 13 (52')  Hartley looks to attack the scrum straight out of the blocks, concedes a penalty however and Byrne brings Leinster to half way. They claim the lineout and find Adam Byrne in space. The youngster though takes his eye off the ball. Knock on
  • Leinster win the scrum against the head. Great work by Jack McGrath there. Leinster win their line-out in the Northampton 22, and form a maul
  • Luke McGrath can't get over but Sean O'Brien certainly can! Jamie Heaslip and Toner helping to drive him over for a second Leinster try
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 20 (57') What a response by Leinster, they lead by 10 points once again
  • Nacewa with his third successful kick of the game there after the try
  • Picamoles replaced for Northampton - that's a sign of how good the Leinster pack has performed here... as the TMO looks at a very dangerous tackle by Dylan Hartley on Sean O'Brien
  • The England captain has been sent off - as Eddie Jones puts his head in his hands.  A very reckless swinging high tackle on O'Brien
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 20 (58')  Jack Conan replaces O'Brien after that hit. This is set up now for the away victory for Leinster
  • Tom Wood sacrificed after Hartley's red card. He's probably been Northampton's best player and he is not one bit happy to be coming off. Cian Healy and James Tracy are on for Leinster
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 20 (61') Very stop-start here these last few minutes. JJ Hanrahan is now down receiving treatment on his ankle. Being strapped up and looks set to play on. Just his second game of the season here and he's certainly had his moments
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 20 (62') The hosts have possession inside the Leinster half but a misplaced pass falls into Ruddock's hands
  • Up and under is well gathered by Ben Foden and Northampton have the ball on the 10 metre line. But Myler's chip is blocked down.

    Henshaw knocks on though trying to claim the gather and Northampton have a scrum on halfway.  

    As Hanrahan limps off. Hopefully nothing too serious, and not a  recurrence of his earlier season injury

  • Michael Bent is on for Furlong, another brilliant showing from the Wexford man. Leinster are finishing this game strongly
  • Brilliant pressure from Heaslip, Ruddock and van der Flier pin Northampton back on their own scrum. Leinster gather the clearing kick and Ross Byrne finds O'Loughlin with a beautiful kick into the left corner. TRY number three!
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 25 (67') Nacewa misses the conversion. 12 minutes now to find a fourth try and a bonus point
  • Cian Healy makes some great distance. Garry Ringrose's kick ahead though is overhit. Leinster have 10 minutes to find that bonus point.  
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 25 (71') Leinster turn the home team over again but this time Henshaw's kick is blocked. More patience needed... as Northampton win a penalty for a high tackle while trying to run it out of their own 22
  • Replacement outhalf Ross Byrne clashes heads with O'Loughlin, he's receiving treatment
  • Byrne is strapped up like a mummy and will play on for the final seven minutes
  • Bonus point confirmed!! Ball stripped by Jamie Heaslip, he plays it away to Jamison Gibson-Park. The replacement 9 dances his way clear on the left wing, brilliant footwork and he crosses over under the posts.  

  • Northampton 10 Leinster 32 (76') Nacewa adds the conversion. Northampton looked tired in body and mind in the defence of that try. Far too easy
  • It's getting worse for Northampton. Yellow card for George Pisi after a high tackle on Nacewa. Two minutes left
  • Northampton 10 Leinster 37 (79')  Try number five, against 13 men Nacewa crosses over in the left corner
  • There was a three man overlap there but Nacewa backed himself. He misses the conversion though. The last action of this game
  • FT Northampton 10 Leinster 37 - A bonus point away win for Leinster. Five tries. The platform set by their dominant pack.  


    Man of the match Tadhg Furlong though is thinking ahead to the return fixture at the Aviva already: "We know what happened three years ago so we'll have to be tuned in next week."

  • Leinster now on 11 points at the top of the pool. Let's not forget what happened three years ago though when a huge away win was followed up by the most unlikely of results.  

    Here's the match report from that 18-9 Northampton away victory in the Aviva.  

  • For now however Leinster can reflect on an impressive win, a third from three visits to Franklin’s Gardens. And a first away win in Europe in eight games.  


    Things are looking good for Leo Cullen and co.  


    So that'll be all from us, back again tomorrow for Munster and Ulster's matches. But for now keep an eye out for Gerry Thornley's match report. And of course, thanks for joining us.

  • FT Northampton 10 Leinster 37