Monday 26 February 2018

Fitzgerald: Saints clash most dangerous of year

Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Fitzgerald

Rugby David Kelly

Leinster will aim to maintain their unbeaten Heineken Cup campaign today at the Aviva Stadium -- knowing a win will keep them on target to return there next year for a money-spinning home quarter-final.

However, a wounded Northampton side will be seeking revenge after being embarrassed on their own ground last weekend in a 40-7 drubbing.

"We're going to have to have a rocket up our backsides, go the extra mile, play with an extra bit of heart, and try and really get into them," said the Saints' England flanker Tom Wood as Leinster brace themselves for a brutally physical opening assault.

"We've got no option than to regroup, have a hard look at ourselves and come out and show a bit of pride. Hopefully we'll pull off a really big win and a turnaround."

Leinster have won 15 of their last 16 home games in the Heineken Cup, but Luke Fitzgerald, a hat-trick hero in last weekend's tie, has warned his side that they cannot afford to let their standards dip.

"These are the weeks that really test you and it's what all the best teams can do, back up a good performance," Fitzgerald said. "This is definitely the most dangerous match we will play this year."

Leinster are unchanged for the tie after Sean O'Brien passed a fitness test on a dead leg, while Ian Madigan retains his out-half berth. Northampton coach Jim Mallinder has shuffled his pack, with Salesi Ma'afu, Christian Day and Calum Clark starting.

Over 45,000 tickets have already been sold for the game and there will be numerous ticket vendors near the ground.

Irish Independent

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