Few would argue that the standout two teams of 2011 will run out for what will be a captivating Heineken Cup Final.
Saints are on the verge of becoming the first side ever to go unbeaten in the elite club competition after recording a perfect eight-from-eight record.
Quite a feat considering. Considering what?
Well it has been quite a turnaround at Franklin's Gardens. Only in 2008 were they competing in the Championship, and since they secured their passage back into the top flight, their rise has yet to plateau. Credit must go to Keith Barwell and Jim Mallinder for this. Saints ooze an ethos and facilities that simply had to return to Premiership rugby and now the lessons have been learned.
Yes, unlike their rivals this week they do not have the chance to claim a magnificent double trophy triumph - let's not get into that Manu Tuilagi debate. But they have shown enough in this 2010/11 campaign to suggest this group of players will stick together and build year upon year, with more silverware likely to materialise.
Leinster in contrast are in some respects coming to the end of a golden era as the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Leo Cullen, Gordon D'Arcy and Shane Horgan age. They have, however, also enjoyed a similarly strong European season, losing just one of their games, which was nothing to be embarrassed about in the form of a 13-20 negative at Clermont.
So long they have lived in the shadow of neighbours Munster - especially in the Heineken Cup - but now they have arguably assumed the top dog tag in Ireland. Because of that fact, their Magners League showdown at Thomond Park next weekend whets the appetite.
There has been little surprise in team selections for this weekend as one might expect. Leinster are boosted by confirmation that O'Driscoll has recovered in time for the contest. The centre forms his usual partnership with D'Arcy in an unchanged team from the semis.
Leo Cullen leads the side and lines up alongside Scotland's Nathan Hines at second row. He is one of six Ireland internationals in a forward pack which includes the devastating Sean O'Brien, who has scored four tries to date in the Heineken Cup competition.
Northampton Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder, who already knew that England international Tom Wood wouldn't recover in time to feature, has named an unchanged selection.
"We certainly have plenty of respect for their achievements and for the players and coaches. But we are not going to Cardiff just to make up the numbers," he said regarding Leinster.
"For us, tomorrow's game is the last of a long season and represents the last opportunity for us to bring home some silverware.
"This is a massive motivation. Not a lot of players get the chance to play in a Heineken Cup final, and everyone in the matchday 23 is determined to get a positive result tomorrow."
Ones to watch:
For Leinster: Why change tack at this stage of the season? Sean O'Brien has been superb for Leinster and Ireland all year and simply must start in New Zealand. He adds real dynamism to the back-row and we look forward to Phil Dowson and company colliding with him. The OPTA stats tell the story though: O'Brien has made more carries (115) than any other player in the Heineken Cup this season as well as more metres than any other forward. The 24-year-old has also beaten 19 defenders, which is a competition high by anyone, back or forward. Defensively, only Joe Worsley (90) has made more tackles.
For Northampton: His performance in the Aviva Premiership semi-final against Leicester was one that reaffirmed he simply must start for England for the foreseeable future, which is why I have gone for Courtney Lawes. Expect the young second-row to throw himself around.
Head-to-head: The two form full-backs in Heineken Cup 2010/11 meet. Isa Nacewa and Ben Foden have been superb all year and I just have a sneaking feeling that whoever comes out on top between these two on Saturday will be in the victorious team.
Prediction: Heineken Cup Final experience will play its part. Leinster by 7!
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Jason Harris-Wright, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Stan Wright, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Paul Diggin, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Joe Ansbro.
Date: Saturday, May 21
Kick-off: 17:00 (16:00 GMT)
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Jerome Garces (France), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
By Adam Kyriacou