A hat-trick of tries from Garry Ringrose along with five-pointers from Tadhg Furlong, Dave Kearney, James Lowe and Caelan Doris sealed another win for the Irish province.
Leinster got off to the perfect start with centre Ringrose going over for a try after just 90 seconds, with the No 13 blocking down a kick as Northampton went to exit from their own 22. He collected the bouncing ball and raced down the left-hand touchline to touch-down.
Ross Byrne smashed the conversion over to make it 7-0 with only two minutes on the clock.
Four minutes later and it was Ringrose who scored his and his team’s second try. The boys in blue attacked from a line-out with winger James Lowe coming in from his flank to break through the middle of the defence, before offloading brilliantly in the tackle to Ringrose who raced over. Byrne made it 14-0 with the kick from the tee.
With just over 10 minutes gone Byrne slotted over a penalty to give Leinster a 17-0 lead in the opening minutes.
With 19 minutes gone Northampton struck back as Leinster conceded penalty after penalty which led to Dan Biggar having the ball in front of the posts, taking a quick tap and go before going over for the try. He converted his own score to make it 17-7.
However, the Saints joy was short-lived with full-back Ashee Tuala being shown a yellow-card two minutes after the try as he prevented Lowe from receiving a pass off the ball.
From that penalty Bryne sent the ball to the touchline and from the resulting line-out they drove over the try-line through Furlong. Bryne was perfect from the tee once again to push the hosts ahead once again.
Things got worse for the visitors on the half-hour mark as captain Tom Wood was sent to the sin-bin too as his side gave up penalty after penalty leading to his eventual yellow-card.
Five-minutes on and the bonus-point was in the bag as Leinster ripped the ball in the middle of the pitch before pouncing forward with the ball finding its way to Ringrose, who fake passed the ball inside, but sent Kearney away on the right-wing and he did the rest. Bryne sent the conversion over to stretch the lead to 31-7.
Despite being down to 14-men the away side scored the final points of the half with winger Ollie Sleightholme charging over from close-range. Biggar knocked-over the extras to leave it at 31-14 come the half-time whistle.
Leinster didn’t have to wait long for their fifth try of the evening, with Jordan Larmour bolting out of his own 22 before being tackled over the half-way line. Byrne eventually got the ball off the back of a ruck and sent a kick through the Saints 22, which Lowe gathered and went over. Byrne couldn’t add the extra two but it was 36-14 with only three-minutes gone in the second-half.
Another five minutes and Ringrose was in for his hat-trick as Kearney took the ball up from a line-out, while it was ripped, Ringrose was the quickest to react, picking the ball up and waltzing over. Ciaran Frawley had just replaced Byrne and he kicked the extras to make it 43-14.
With the time ticking towards the hour-mark Northampton notched up a third try through Tuala and Biggar took the quick conversion to edge into the host’s lead.
As they headed into the final quarter of an hour, Doris scored his first European try as he picked in front of the opposition defence and walked over for his team’s seventh five-pointer of the game. Frawley converted to make it 50-21.
Both sides went in search of further scores but it was to no avail as Leinster ran out 50-21 winners in what was another outstanding performance and it means they become the first team to qualify for the knock-out stages after only four games of the pool stages.
Leinster will now turn their attention to the domestic stage as they prepare to host high-flying Ulster on Friday as they look to make it 12 wins from 12 at the start of the season, while the Saints head to Sale Sharks next Saturday in the Premiership.
Leinster Player Ratings:
Jordan Larmour (9), Dave Kearney (8), Garry Ringrose (9), Robbie Henshaw (7), James Lowe (8), Ross Byrne (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (7); Cian Healy (7), James Tracy (7), Tadhg Furlong (8), Scott Fardy (7), James Ryan (8), Rhys Ruddock (8), Josh van der Flier (8), Caelan Doris (9)
Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip
Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.
In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.
Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Big names miss out for Ulster
The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.
The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.
John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.
Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse
In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half.
Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench.
Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.