Leinster smash Saints in Champions Cup
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Leinster laid down a Champions Cup marker on Saturday in Pool One as they scored seven tries in a 43-16 win over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.
Leinster started the strongest and took full advantage of some sloppy Northampton passing on three minutes, allowing Jordan Larmour to sprint clear before releasing James Lowe for the easiest of tries, with Johnny Sexton converting.
Northampton would respond immediately with some powerful running, working back along the left side and opening up the overlap for Ahsee Tuala to dive over in the corner.
The Irish province stretched ahead again after 16 minutes when Sexton brought the ball up to the line and released Larmour who stepped past his man and found Jamison Gibson-Park. He fell just short of the tryline but Rhys Ruddock could power over two phases later.
Dan Biggar was able to chip into the Leinster lead with a trio of three-pointers but they fell behind again just before the interval.
It was a driving maul that was stopped close to the line before the forwards did the damage with penalty advantage as Andrew Porter powered over.
Leinster then took over in the second half with two tries in as many minutes after the break.
The first came on 46 after Larmour made another terrific break and it was Cian Healy who powered his way over the line.
And then two minutes later, a delightful break from Gibson-Park released the forwards to edge towards the line until Ross Byrne picked a hole in the Northampton line and danced over for a fifth Leinster try.
Northampton dominated the final 25 minutes but failed to convert pressure into points and when Leinster escaped, they grabbed a sixth score through Luke McGrath and a seventh through Ed Byrne
The two sides will do battle again next week at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
For Northampton Saints:
Pens: Biggar 3
Tries: Lowe, Ruddock, Porter, Healy, R Byrne, McGrath, E Byrne
Cons: Sexton 2, R Byrne 2
Yellow cards: Alex Waller (Saints, 46); Garry Ringrose (Leinster, 52)
Northampton Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Alex Moon, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Connor Tupai, 22 James Grayson, 23 Piers Francis
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Scott Fardy, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Cédric Marchat (France)
TMO: Patrick Dellac (France)