Latest News:

News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview

By HRsaints fan
December 9 2016

Northampton Saints welcome Leinster Rugby to Franklin's Gardens this evening in Round Three of the pool matches in the 2016/17 Champions Cup. With one win and one loss for all four teams in the group so far this could be a season-defining fixture and COYSDC stalwart, HRsaints fan (David to his mates), looks ahead to the game...





CC: Friday, 9th December 2016 - 7.45pm (BT Sport)




It’s no good. No matter how hard I have tried, I cannot think about tonight’s game without my mind drifting back to a cold December Friday night in 2013 which was the last time that Leinster visited Franklins Gardens. At that time Saints had lost away to Castre in Round 1 (a game they should have won) and won at home against Ospreys. So, in terms of the group, there was still everything to play for. Leinster was two from two, having won away at Ospreys and then beating Castre at home.

Then, as now, the Leinster team were almost at International level, with such dignitaries as Kearney, O’Driscoll, D’arcy, Fitzgerald, Reddan, Cronin, Ross, O’Brien and Heaslip. However Saints themselves were enjoying their first season with George North on the wing, and their domestic form was excellent, having won seven, drawn one, and lost only one of the first nine games of the Premiership.

I can still recall the shock of that first half. The speed with which Leinster attacked took one’s breath away and it seemed that they could score tries at will. O’Driscoll’s outrageous pass from between his legs for the second try summed up what was a clear gulf in class between the two teams. At 26 – 0 at half time, the game was over and the second half saw two further tries from the visitors with one from Saints.

If anyone from the Saints team happens to read this (very unlikely I know) I just want to say DON’T LET THEM DO IT AGAIN. Enough said.

ERCC Pool 4 is interestingly poised. Leinster won reasonably comfortably at home to Castre in Round 1 but really struggled against the monster Montpellier pack in Round 2, squeezing what was really an underserved losing bonus point in the last minutes of the game. Saints fought very hard against the same Montpellier team to squeeze a win in round 1, and then got regally thumped away to Castre. So although Leinster top the group, and Saints prop it up, there are only 2 points separating the teams.

Of course, Saints cannot point to anything like the same domestic form of 2013 in the current season and we come into this game following a disappointing result at Welford Road last weekend. Saint’s defence continues to be a mighty thing – but our attack? Much debate and discussion has taken place about where our attack seems to have wandered off to. Indeed by Round 4 of the 2013/2014 Premiership season we had scored as many tries as we have in nine attempts in the current season.

There is no doubt that our defence will again be tested against an excellent Leinster side. Whether we can find our attacking mojo though remains to be seen.

The teams are already announced, and I personally am very pleased to see JJ Hanrahan back in the side. He was very eloquent in the Saints Show on BBC Radio Northampton on Wednesday night. In particular he felt that he hadn’t been able – for whatever reason – to show the Saints fans what he can do. I, for one, hope that he might be the catalyst towards a much underperforming Saints backline finding its feet again.

The good news is that I have it on very good authority that a certain F.Christmas has checked his list (twice) and that yours truly got a tick in the ‘nice’ box. So, on that basis, I have written a letter to the North Pole, put as many stamps on it as the envelope would take, and asked Santa for an early Christmas present in the form of a Saints win tonight.

Safe travels for all, especially the travelling Leinster fans, and here’s hoping for a really good game of rugby and a Christmas wish coming true for this supporter at least.



View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with:
News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 12:26
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
Phil. (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 12:28
Thank you, David - much appreciated!

Saint Ted
Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 14:13
Good read, enjoyed that, can't be easy doing the previews in the current situation, who knows this could be a turning point!

If I'm being pedantic though it was a Saturday night match!

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
HRsaints fan (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 14:34
You are quite right ST. Sorry about that.

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
Saint Tim (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 14:38
Don't apologise David. Cracking read and many thanks.

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
Deesaint (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 15:08
Excellent as always
Thank you

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
StBleach (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 16:12
Yep, cracking read and well done for keeping things positive - as far as I rememebr ( its been a few years since i visited the gardens ) European games, under the lights were always a bit special - the Dec 2013 game was memorable for all the wrong reasons but did follow a rather Guiness filled afternoon at the Foundry with the Leinster boys. Enjoy the game you Saintly faithful - im having a little bet on the Saints this evening..

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
saintsfella (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 17:01
Thanks David, very much appreciate the time, effort and optimistic spirit! COYS!!!!!!

Re: News: CC: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby - Preview
coolbawn (IP Logged)
09/12/2016 18:46
(As an Irish rugby fan, can I say) Amazing self-restraint for not mentioning the Saints revenge in the return fixture in 2013. You can't judge a wicket until both sides have batted once on it. I hope Leinster give it a rip tonight because their young tyros have been great to watch this year.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing

Northampton Saints Poll

Is Hartley proving a good captain for England?

See results > Submit >>