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Leinster Make Five Changes For First Northampton Match

Leinster Make Five Changes For First Northampton Match

Young back rower Caelan Doris will pack down at number 8 for Leinster away to Northampton Saints ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Dave Kearney comes in on the right wing for Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup round 3 encounter with Northampton Saints at Frankin’s Gardens on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).

Head coach Leo Cullen has made five personnel changes to the team that overcame Lyon 13-6 a fortnight ago, with Jamison Gibson-Park getting the nod at scrum half and the back-three anchored by Jordan Larmour who switches to the full-back position.

Andrew Porter and Devin Toner are bumped up from the bench, taking over from Tadhg Furlong and Scott Fardy in the tight five respectively, while 21-year-old talent Caelan Doris features at number 8 for his second European start.

Leinster have an experienced group of replacements for the Pool 1 top of the table clash. Cullen wants his charges to take more of their scoring chances as they look to edge out a Northampton team that have also gone two-for-two with victories over Lyon (25-14) and Benetton Rugby (35-32).

“Ideally, we would like to play more. I think we had something like 45% of possession in Lyon,” admitted the Leinster boss. “Even against Glasgow (last week) it was something similar. In an ideal world, we would prefer to have the ball more, impose our game more.

“We had some chances we didn’t quite take against Lyon, even against Glasgow near the end of the game. We were 10-0 up against Lyon and we had chances to kick on, then there is a lot more pressure on Lyon to play from deep and we can put even more pressure on.

“Away from home, you’ve got to take all the half-chances that come your way. You talk about a clinical team, we need to make sure we’re clinical. Otherwise, you are in a situation like we were against Lyon. I think we can kill those games off more with our attack.”

He added: “You’re away from home and you’re just trying to get every single point you can out of game. Northampton have experienced players. Cobus Reinach was away with South Africa and Dan Bigger with Wales, ­very experienced half-backs.

“Then they have a lot of young players coming through that they’ve given chances to, very similar to what we’ve tried to do.”

LEINSTER (v Northampton Saints): Jordan Larmour; Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Scott Fardy, Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Ross Byrne, Rob Kearney.