Leinster vs Northampton Saints Predictions: Back the points at Croke Park

 | 3rd May | 

3 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

The first of the Champions Cup Semi-Finals will be played at a sold-out Croke Park in front of 82,000 fans on Saturday afternoon (17:30). It has the potential to be an epic spectacle, with the top side in Ireland taking on the top side in England for a spot in the Final.

Our rugby union expert Alex Cox has previewed Saturday's huge clash and shared his Leinster vs Northampton Saints predictions. 

Leinster vs Saints Betting Tips

  • Over 50.5 points @ 5/6

Leinster have been a dominant force in European rugby for a number of years but they going through a somewhat dry-spell when it comes to trophys. However, Leinster fans will hope that tide is changing after they defeated Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle in the Quarter-Final. With a side almost entirely made up of Irish internationals, Leinster’s skill level and cohesion are tough for any club side to match, but the Irish will have visions of their recent trip to Twickenham to remind them of what an English side can do.

The Saints have had a fantastic season and are in prime position for their Premiership playoff run, however I don’t think many within the Club would have predicted for them to make a Champions-Cup Semi-Final. I believe Saints will come into this game knowing they are the underdog and embracing it, throwing caution to the wind and taking on Leinster on the wide Croke Park pitch. Saints have recent fond memories of beating Irish opposition after their double over Munster and will certainly look to replicate a performance to match.

Team News

Northampton

Unfortunately Saints have a couple of injuries that occurred during their loss vs Harlequins last weekend, meaning we won’t be seeing Sleightholme and Ludlam in Dublin. They did rest a few bodies last week though, so are still in good shape for this challenging semi-final. Waller, Langdon and Davison will be in the front-row, with Moon and Coles in the second-row, fresh after a week off. Lawes, Graham and Augustus will be in the back-row, although I am sure Pearson and Ludlam would have featured if available.

Mitchell and Smith continue as the half-backs, with Dingwall and Freeman in the midfield. With Sleightholme out, Saints are thankful to have Hendy back to go onto one wing and Ramm will be on the other. Furbank continues at full-back and will play a key part in keeping out any Leinster line breaks.

Leinster

Leinster have a fresh side after it was the wider squad that were sent to South Africa for the recent URC games. Porter, Sheehan and Furlong are the front-row trio, with Molony and McCarthy chosen in the second-row. Baird, Van der Flier and Doris will combine in a formidable back-row, leaving Conan to come off the bench.

There are a few injuries in the back-line but there is still plenty of talent to cause Saints trouble. Gibson-Park and Byrne will be the half-back pairing, in what will be a fascinating battle with the opposition half-backs. With Ringrose injured, it leaves Osborne and Henshaw in the centers. Lowe and Larmour will operate in the wide channels and Frawley will be at full-back with Keenan injured too.

Over 50.5 points @ 5/6

Although this is a European Semi-Final, I strongly believe this game will not turn into a turgid arm-wrestle. Both sides try to push their ruck speed to the absolute maximum, to enable their ball-carriers to run at a disjointed defensive line, or to unlock their backlines in space.

On this wide pitch, there will be plenty of space for running rugby which both sides will look to maximize. Although Saints are deservedly underdogs, I do believe they will contribute to the scoreboard and take this game over 50 points.

Find more Rugby Union Betting Tips here at Betfred Insights

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