Leinster continue their build up to their defence of the Heineken Cup and their return to domestic action this weekend when they travel to Franklin’s Garden to take on Northampton, kick off 3.00pm, in a repeat of the 2011 Heineken Cup final.
While there may only be professional pride on the line both sides will be looking to build and try new combinations as they approach the start of the RaboDirect Pro 12 and the Aviva Premiership respectively.
Joe Schmidt would have been pleased enough with his young side that took on and defeated English outfit Gloucester at the Tallaght Stadium last Saturday and with the front line internationals still in their pre season training schedules at the moment Saturday presents another opportunity for the younger members of the squad to lay down a marker ahead of the start of the season.
While he was a bit shaky with the boot at times last weekend, Ian Madigan impressed for the most part and he will be looking to build on that start on Saturday afternoon.
Another player that will be looking to impress is Dominic Ryan, who made an impact against Gloucester, scoring a try and looking like the player that was such a force two seasons ago.
Having fallen down the pecking order at Leinster, Ryan will no doubt be looking to show Schmidt and the Leinster management that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Northampton will not have happy memories when they think of Leinster and will be hungry to get another crack at them after Leinster blew them away in the second half of that never to be forgotten 2011 Heineken final.
The Saints lost their opening pre season friendly against the newly formed Italian outfit Zebra going down narrowly 30-28 in a tight contest.
While disappointed to lose, Saints scrum half Lee Dickson cannot wait to line up against the Heineken Cup champions in front of an expected 11,000 strong crowd.
“The crowd here are always immense and to get over 11,000 for a pre-season friendly proves that. We want to win, even if that isn’t what pre-season is all about. I can’t wait and hopefully I’ll get my chance to play this weekend.”