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You get the feeling it could be a struggle for Northampton to stay up in England’s top division this season with three straight defeats to all of Sale, Harlequins and Bristol.
Their form looked to be turning a corner when leading Bordeaux-Begles by three points with only six minutes left on the clock last weekend though, but a Matthieu Jalibert penalty rebounding off the posts and landing into the path of Santiago Cordero ensured yet another defeat.
Leinster continued their usual winning ways by convincingly downing Montpellier. That result came without the likes of Johnny Sexton and James Ryan starting, while James Lowe and Tadhg Furlong were also sidelined.
A testament to them, they still manage to get the job done without all their stars and with Chris Boyd having already stated he’ll use this tournament to blood his youngsters given their circumstance domestically, the Irish outfit will surely cruise to yet another European victory.
These two teams could not be going in more different directions with the Saints losing 11 games on the bounce dating back to late August, while their only victories since late January have come against both Worcester and London Irish from their 18 matches.
Those two English sides were very much the worst in the division last year alongside Leicester Tigers, and now up against what is arguably the best team in Europe, it could be a long day for them.
By contrast, the Irish champions have won 33 of their 34 matches since mid-May last year, with that sole defeat coming against Saracens in the knockout stages of this tournament last year.
It’s, therefore, no surprise to see them as overwhelming favourites for this one and given we can’t argue with the current over 40-point handicap, we like the value of a Leinster tryscorer.
Dave Kearney To Score Anytime
Dave Kearney looks the man to get over the whitewash at least once for us. The Leinster man was one try short of topping the Pro 14 try-scoring charts last season, while he already has four to his name this campaign.
Furthermore, he scored last weekend against Montpellier, and he’ll no doubt find himself in the right place at the right time yet again in the second round.