Preview of Leinster Rugby v Northampton Saints

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Updated: December 14, 2013

Its a huge night in the Aviva  stadium as Leinster Rugby welcome Northampton Saints. We have the live score commentary from kick off at 6pm.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SCORE COMMENTARY

PREVIEW

This weekend a wounded Northampton side will travel to the Aviva Stadium to play Leinster hoping to get revenge after being hammered 40-7 last week. Let’s have a look at the match.

Leinster

Last week was one of Leinster’s greatest European performances. An all Irish 15 tore Northampton to shreds whenever they got the ball. Leinster showed last week, led by a vintage Brian O’Driscoll performance that brain beats brawn.

A lot was made pre match of Northampton’s size and strength, on the pitch Leinster were  faster and smarter then Northampton. Instead of looking for contact when running, they ran looking for space and when they ran into contact they nearly always got over the gain line. There rucking was precise and aggressive and they always got quick ball, the defence was also rock solid. This ensured they were comfortable winners.

Northampton

Last week Northampton were just second best in all aspects of the game their reaction time always seemed to be about 5 seconds behind Leinster. To have 55% possession and lose by 33 points is a sin, their main problem was when they had the ball they were slow and indecisive.

Besides the embarrassment of getting hammered at home, the worst thing for Northampton fans was that after it was obvious that their power game was not working they had no plan Band they didn’t switch things up and looked bereft of ideas. The positive is that they will play Leinster again this Saturdayand will have an opportunity to put things right. If they lose this match they will be out most likely.

Key Battles

Gordon Darcy VS Luther Burrell

Two very dynamic centres coming up against each other. Burrell is a big ball carrier, the man usually trusted with getting Northampton over the gain line, he is hard to stop but as shown last week when he is stopped Northampton’s backline become a lot less effective.

Gordon Darcy put in one of the great performances against the All Blacks and since then has continued this fantastic for.Last week he was very solid in defence, was always a willing ball carrier and his passing was crisp. Both men are leaders going forward and in defence and whichever one comes out on top will have a big influence in the game

Sean O’Brien VS Tom Wood

The battle between the two opensides is always crucial in every rugby match.This is no different as two classy players come up against each other. Sean O’Brien is Leinster’s big ball carrier while Wood is Northampton’s work horse, both men are also tasked with causing havoc at the breakdown and generally being a nuisance to the other team.

Neither are considered orthodox opensides but they both are still very good on the ground and if Sean O’Brien can get the upper hand like he did last week then Leinster will get the sort of quick ball which makes them so devastating. If Wood gets on top then we may see more of a platform for Northampton to unleash their big backs from.

Lineups

In injury news it has been revealed that Cian Healy will have ankle surgery while Northampton’s James Wilson is still injured.

Leinster name an unchanged lineup whilst Northampton make three changes for the game

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.

Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 John Cooney, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Zane Kirchner.

 

Northampton Saints: 15 Ken Pisi, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Alex Waller.

Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Tom Collins.

 

Prediction

Northampton will be out for revenge and will be fired up, however I still expect Leinster to win.Leinster by 12

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