Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Northampton Saints

11th December 2013 09:30

Share:

Luke Fitzgerald of Leinster v Saints

Leading try scorer: Luke Fitzgerald

Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has selected an unchanged line-up from the one that started last weekend's win at Franklin's Gardens.

Jamie Heaslip leads an all-Ireland team for the return visit of Northampton.

Mike McCarthy continues his second row partnership with Devin Toner and the Moynalvey man is set to make his 31st Heineken Cup appearance.

The second half try scored by Brian O'Driscoll, who picked up the man of the match award in Round 3, took him to 33 on the all-time European top try-scorers list and is now just two behind Toulouse's Vincent Clerc.

O'Driscoll continues his centre partnership with Gordon D'Arcy, with Luke Fitzgerald (whose hat-trick of tries last weekend pushed him to the top of this year's competition tally) continuing in the back three alongside Dundalk duo Dave and Rob Kearney.

Eoin Reddan partners Ian Madigan, who makes his 90th Leinster appearance, at half back.

Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings and Zane Kirchner are named on an experienced looking bench.

Meanwhile, the Northampton Saints team that heads to Leinster this weekend shows three changes from that which started last Saturday.

Saints will play at the Aviva Stadium for the first time on Saturday evening, with Salesi Ma'afu, Christian Day and Calum Clark all returning to the starting XV for the clash with the three-time Heineken Cup champions.

Ma'afu has recovered from the foot injury which kept him out of last weekend's game, while Day and Clark come in for Sam Dickinson and Phil Dowson, who drop to the bench.

They will be joined by Kahn Fotuali'i, who comes into the match day squad in place of Ryan Glynn.

The 40-7 hammering Northampton received last weekend was their joint-biggest defeat in the competition - equalling their 33-point loss against Montferrand in 2001.

The Aviva Premiership finalists have to win to have any hope of qualification from Pool 1.

Leinster however have won 15 of their last 16 home games in the Heineken Cup, with Clermont upsetting the trend in Dublin last season.

The teams:

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 Diickson, 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.

Date: Saturday 14th December
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Kick-off: 18:00 (local & GMT)
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Sebastien Cloute, Thomas Charabas (both France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615