Follow all the action on the RugbyPass live blog from the Heineken Champions Cup match between Northampton Saints and Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens.
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Chris Boyd believes Northampton are facing a Leinster team that plays “like an international side”.
The unbeaten Pool One rivals go head to head in England on Saturday (kick-off 1pm) before next weekend’s return fixture in Dublin.
Top of the Gallagher Premiership and bolstered by Wales fly-half Dan Biggar’s return to action, Saints will take pole position if they topple the four-time European champions.
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“Leinster play like an international side – they don’t give you any opportunities,” Northampton boss Boyd said.
“I remember watching the semi-finals and final (of the Champions Cup) last season and there was hardly a risk taken in the games. Saracens and Leinster do it exceptionally well.
“If you get too loose, they will kill you. They’ve got a great set-piece, they are defensively very well organised and they play territory, so they are not going to give you very much.
‘Results are speaking for themselves at Franklin’s Gardens and if the RFU want to push forward English coaches, Vesty would have to be one of the top candidates’
– @alexshawsport on Sam Vesty’s RFU audition with Northampton tackling Leinsterhttps://t.co/abYilNBc69
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 3, 2019
“The question will be whether we can get enough scraps and turn them into gold because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long day at the office.
“Win or lose, I just want us to walk off the field on Saturday and for the supporters to be able to say that the boys gave all they’ve got. We want to work hard and enjoy doing it.”
Biggar apart, Boyd has made two other changes from the team that demolished Leicester last weekend, with full-back Ahsee Tuala and flanker Jamie Gibson also featuring.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 24, 2019
Leinster, meanwhile, have made twelve changes to their starting line-up after last weekend’s PRO14 win at Glasgow. Jamison Gibson-Park, Devin Toner and Caelan Doris are their three repeat picks, with front-liners such as Tadhg Furlong, Scott Fardy and Rob Kearney including on the bench.
NORTHAMPTON: 15. Ahsee Tuala, 14. Tom Collins, 13. Matt Proctor, 12. Rory Hutchinson, 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Cobus Reinach, 1. Alex Waller (c), 2. Mikey Haywood, 3. Ehren Painter, 4. Alex Moon, 5. Api Ratuniyarawa, 6. Tom Wood, 7. Jamie Gibson, 8. Teimana Harrison. Reps: 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 (c), 9. Jamison Gibson-Park, 1. Cian Healy, 2. Ronan Kelleher, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Rhys Ruddock, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris. Reps: 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).
WATCH: RugbyPass goes behind-the-scenes at the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final between Leinster and Scarlets
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