Losing bonus point 'would not be the end of the world' for Leinster at Saints

Leinster boss Leo Cullen says a losing bonus point 'would not be the end of the world' for his side at Saints on Saturday.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 12:43 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 1:25 pm
Leinster boss Leo Cullen

Cullen brings his side to Northampton on the crest of a wave, with Leinster having won every game they have played so far this season.

They have seven victories from as many matches in the Guinness PRO14, claiming five try bonus points in the process.

And they have taken nine points from a possible 10 in the Champions Cup, beating Benetton and Lyon.

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Saints also defeated both of those sides, meaning they are level with Leinster at the top of Pool 1.

And the two teams are now ready for a potentially decisive December double-header, with Leinster coming to the Gardens on Saturday before Saints go to the Aviva Stadium a week later.

"In certain circumstances, a losing bonus point is not the end of the world," Cullen said.

"Whatever situation we find ourselves in, it’s just about making sure we try and maximise every point we can from the fixture.

"It’s not trying to talk in cliches here, but it’s that piece of Europe that is a little bit unique isn’t it?

"We're just trying to get everything we possibly can from all these games."

Cullen has been impressed with Saints, who have produced some fantastic free-flowing rugby at times this season, moving to the top of the Gallagher Premiership in the process.

"They’re going really well," Cullen said.

"Obviously Chris Boyd has come in there last season and now he has some young English coaches around him; Phil Dowson, who’s Northampton through and through at this stage, Sam Vesty for backs and attack.

"I would have played with Sam in Leicester, he has a very, very creative mind, you can see that with the way they’re attacking.

"With Chris Boyd’s background with the Hurricanes most recently and just the attacking mindset that team has, it paints a picture of a head coach that would lead a very attacking oriented set-up and team.

"In terms of the personnel I think they’ve made some great signings. They’ve got that mix of real top end experience, guys who have done it on the biggest stage plus lots of very good young players. It adds to a really good youth and blend in terms of youth and experience.

"You just look through the names, even last weekend Owen Franks pulled out, Courtney Lawes pulls out and Dan Biggar pulls out before the morning or on the morning of the game. They’re replaced by three 22-year-olds essentially and they go on to put in a very commanding performance against Leicester.

"They’ve recruited very, very well but it’s been underpinned by some very good young players which is nice to see from a distance because it’s very much of a similar philosophy we would have here.

"We know it’s going to be a real stern challenge for us tomorrow."