Easterby: All part of learning process

Leinster manager Guy Easterby expects his side to get back on track next weekend away to Sale Sharks after an experimental team were out to the sword at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Easterby said that while a side never likes to stomach a heavy defeat, it was good so many young players got experience against a near full strength Northampton side who ran in seven tries without reply at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

And the former Irish scrum-half said the rout was a wake-up call to the senior players on duty.

“We just didn’t make the progress we intended in the game. But it’s good for young players to experience this level and see where they need to get to.

“It’s also a bit of a wake-up call for some of our senior players who were on duty. We need to improve ahead of the opening game against Scarlets,” he said.

Leinster will conclude their pre-season fixtures away to Sale Sharks next weekend and Easterby said they would be looking for a big improvement.

“We just did not bridge the gap against Saints.

“It was warm and the crowd were red-hot and we just did not get up to the required level.

“But it wasn’t all negatives. It’s great to get game-time under your belt, there weren’t any injuries and players will learn from this sort of experience,” added Easterby.

Joe Schmidt’s side had a decent opening quarter, but three tries before the break saw Northampon pull away.

Leo Cullen, Richardt Strauss, Isaac Boss and Devin Toner all made their first starts of the season but they leaked another four tries in the closing 13 minutes.

Northampton crossed after 23 minutes when Dom Walduck barged across the line, despite the efforts of Andrew Boyle, who was forced off injured as a result.

Six minutes later the Leinster line was breached once again, this time left winger Paul Diggin did the damage, and once again Ryan Lamb failed with the difficult conversion as the Saints led 10-0.

Ex-Blackrock College and UCD flyer Vasily Artemyev got their third at the end of a good move for Northampton to lead 17-0 at half-time.

Both sides emptied their benches but it was Northampton who finished strongly with Scott Armstrong, Tom Wood, Tom May and Noah Cato crossing for Saints in the final quarter.

Scorers for Northampton Saints: Tries: D Walduck, P Diggin, V Artemyev, S Armstrong, T Wood, T May, N Cato. Cons: R Lamb, S Myler (3).

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS: B Foden; V Artemyev, G Pisi, D Waldouck, P Diggin; R Lamb, L Dickson; S Tonga’iuha, D Hartley, B Mujati; M Sorenson, C Day; S Manoa, T Harrison, P Dowson.

Replacements: S Armstrong, L Burrell, N Cato, P Doran-Jones, M Haywood, T Hicks, M Hopley, t May, R McMillan, T Mercey, S Myler, B Nutley, R Oakley, K Pisi, M Roberts, A Waller, J Wilson, T Wood.

LEINSTER: A Conway; A Boyle, B Macken, J Coghlan, S Coghlan-Murray; N Reid, I Boss; J McGrath, R Strauss, M Moore; L Cullen, D Toner; D Ryan, J Murphy, L Auva’a.

Replacements: T Sexton, H van der Merwe, J Hagan, T Denton, B Marshall, J Cooney, I Madigan, C O’Shea, F Carr, J O’Connell.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).


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