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Northampton Saints 16
WHAT A DAY to go 10 from 10. And lose your 10 to injury along the way.
Jonathan Sexton’s early departure due to injury is one of the few black marks against Leinster as they laid down another big statement performance against the pace-setters of the Premiership.
The visitors at Franklin’s Gardens laid to rest any anxiety of World Cup hangovers that had been attached to their relatively stodgy wins in the opening two rounds with some exhilarating flashes of attacking rugby.
The spark for all that blue touchpaper came through Jordan Larmour, whose footwork, ability to exploit gaps and clinically time his pass in open field was dazzling at times.
The 22-year-old played a big part in creating first-half tries for James Lowe and Rhys Ruddock. And although the home side were still well in touch at the halfway point, Leinster were in ruthless mood as they scorched from a 16-19 to 16-31 lead and the bonus point in the space of nine second-half minutes.
A performance that only underlines Leinster’s credentials as tournament favourites brings them five points clear of Northampton before the reverse fixture at the Aviva Stadium next weekend. Both sides started the weekend with nine points to their name in the pool and, with just a single loss between them all season before kick-off, there was plenty to whet the appetite. The satisfying feast of incisive attack arrived without delay.
For an away fixture in a tight old ground against in-form, Premiership-leading opposition the selection of Larmour over the vast experience of Rob Kearney was a big call from Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster. The young tyro repaid the faith within three minutes of kick-off by creating a brilliant breakaway try.
What began as a nervy moment for the visitors with Jam
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