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Leinster v Northampton Saints: Prediction, Tips and Odds

The semi-finals of the 2023/24 European Champions Cup begin with Saturday's tie between Leinster and Northampton and the current Premiership leaders' form suggests they have more than a puncher's chance in Dublin. 

Both have won all six of their matches in this season's competition, with Leinster twice beating La Rochelle, the side who defeated them in both the 2022 and 2023 finals.

Those results will have provided a massive psychological boost, but opponents Northampton sit top of the Premiership and have nothing to fear after beating Munster both home and away in the tournament.

Saints won this competition in 2000, again getting the better of Munster 9-8 at Twickenham. They also made it to the 2011 final, squandering a 22-6 lead to lose 33-22 to Saturday's opponents.

Leinster also won this tournament in 2009, 2012 and 2018 and need one more victory to match Toulouse's five European Cups. The winner on Saturday could face the French giants, who take on Harlequins in Sunday's second semi, in the final on 25th May. 

The Irish side are the favourites, but an expectant home crowd and an unfamiliar 'home' venue in Dublin could lead to some unanticipated difficulties.

Leinster v Northampton Saints

Leinster v Northampton Saints betting tips and predictions

Northampton +13.5 @ 11/10

The Saints may not triumph on Saturday, but they can push Leinster close. The Dubliners are the 10/11 favourites to win the tournament ahead of 11/10 Toulouse, but their recent near misses in this competition are sure to add to any pre-game anxiety.

It will be a huge occasion at Croke Park and Saints could seize on the potential nerves among the crowd. That was the case in the last 16 when Leicester made early inroads, only for their hosts to record a 36-22 win at the Aviva Stadium.

However, the home side's collective post-match body language was that of a team who felt they may have been fortunate.

Leinster were much more composed in dispatching La Rochelle 40-13 the following week at the Aviva, but Croke Park is bigger and they may require time to adapt to playing in a bigger area.

Saints fly-half Fin Smith told reporters this week that his team had been learning about the ground's history to heighten their awareness of the occasion.

With youth on their side and very few defeats behind them, Northampton could make a lightning start and push the four-time winners closer than the traders believe.

Josh van der Flier anytime tryscorer @ 9/4

Leinster have made two changes to the team from their last-eight victory over La Rochelle, with flanker Josh van der Flier coming in alongside lock Ross Molony.

Van der Flier's inclusion ahead of Will Connors hints at a more open game and he also has a habit of scoring crucial tries.

The 31-year-old has scored in his team's semi-final wins in each of the last two seasons, with his 57th-minute effort in last year's game against Toulouse arguably turning the tie in his team's favour.

Leinster's search for greater physicality, combined with a potential post-World Cup hangover, has led to Van der Flier not playing as much as in previous seasons. but this is the type of occasion upon which he thrives and he is a decent price to grab another five-pointer.

Tommy Freeman anytime tryscorer @ 13/5

Northampton's abundance of back-three talent means England wing Tommy Freeman's future at club level looks to be at outside centre and he will don the 13 shirt again on Saturday.

Capable of playing across the back-line, his deft hands complement his pace and power. However, his ability to assist means he arguably doesn't score enough tries, touching down just four times in this season's Premiership.

He has a better strike rate in Europe, crossing four times in just six matches, including in the quarter-final win over Munster.

Freeman's primary role will be to help bring the back three of wings James Ramm and George Hendy and full-back George Furbank into the game.

However, if he sees a gap, the 23-year-old will go through it, and is another who could prove overpriced in the try markets.

Read more rugby union betting tips and predictions on site

Leinster v Northampton Saints odds

Leinster - 1/8
Draw -
Northampton -

View the full market and more odds for Leinster v Northampton Saints on site

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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