Northampton boss Chris Boyd admitted Saints had received a “reality check” as they slumped to a 43-16 Heineken Champions Cup defeat to Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Gallagher Premiership pacesetters leaked seven tries as they suffered a first loss in three European outings this season and failed to score in a one-sided second-half.

“One of the spectators said to me as he walked past the box that it’s a part of the education. There are not many sides in the Premiership that can step it up like that,” Boyd said.

“We were in the game at half-time but I got the feeling they probably had more petrol left in the tank than we did. It was a reality check.

Video Spacer

“It’s a learning for us that there’s another level of physicality and fitness required if we’re going to compete with teams like Leinster.

“We have to be optimistic that we can close the gap. When you play the best sides in Europe, like Leinster are, having Owen Franks, Courtney Lawes, Dave Ribbands unavailable makes a difference.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Leinster defended outstandingly well in that block. We didn’t ask enough questions of them and we were a little bit inaccurate because of the time pressure they put on us.”

Leinster were hit by the loss of Johnny Sexton to injury, but they still swatted Northampton aside with ease to sound their title challenge.

“Johnny has taken a bang to the knee and we’ll see how much damage has been done,” boss Leo Cullen said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’re just trying to build cohesion with the guys coming back from the World Cup and that’s taking a bit of time.

“This was a positive step but we’ll get better each week and continue to improve.”

Meanwhile, Boyd, who revealed that Lawes will not return until later in the month because of a hamstring injury, categorically ruled out signing England scrum-half Ben Youngs from Leicester for next season.

Reports have stated Youngs could be joining Tigers’ bitter East Midlands rivals.

“I have never spoken to Ben Youngs in my life and we have absolutely no interest in Ben Youngs at Northampton Saints. Is that reasonably clear?” Boyd said.

“We are looking for young guys with potential. Ben Youngs has been wonderful for Leicester and for England. Leicester are his club.

“I am not interested in recruiting a 30-year-old from another club in England. It’s not where we are going.

“You can put that one to bed. It is probably his agent looking for another 100k. Nothing to do with us.”

Press Association

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now