Livescore Sunday, May 19

Bulls director of rugby Jake White hopes Northampton Saints achieve an Investec Champions Cup and Gallagher Premiership double this season.

The Saints defeated a depleted Bulls side 59-22 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday to book their place in the Champions Cup semi-finals, where they will face Leinster at Croke Park.

After the match, the World Cup-winning coach came into the victors’ changing room to congratulate them, describing their attack as “outstanding” and telling them that he hopes they achieve the double.

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Phil Dowson’s side currently sit at the top of the Premiership and look in very good shape to book a home semi-final with a five-point advantage over second-place Bath and a seven-point lead over third-place Saracens with four rounds remaining.

They are also undefeated in the Champions Cup this season, although the trip to Dublin to take on Leinster in May is likely to be their toughest game of the season and probably the biggest hurdle in stopping them from achieving the double White mentioned.

Though it was a Bulls side shy of many of their Springboks that arrived at Franklin’s Gardens, Saints director of rugby Dowson said after the win that they did not take the visitors lightly, knowing the quality they still possessed.

“I’ve seen the quality and strength in depth of rugby in Pretoria and how big it is, it’s unbelievable in that region,” Dowson said.

“And they have produced some of the best players in the world in the last 20 or 30 years.

“So we’re aware of the production line of very good players they have, so we knew not to take them lightly.

“The South Africa teams have added in terms of quality of players they have and their heritage.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the team that he fielded, White said that he is “loving” the Champions Cup, comparing the standard to Test rugby.

“It’s so close to Test rugby,” he said. “The styles vary a little bit, maybe there’s more attack, but the intensity and fight to win is there.”

Northampton switch their attention back to the Premiership for the next two weeks before the Leinster clash, beginning with the East Midlands Derby against Leicester Tigers on Saturday, followed by a clash with fellow Champions Cup semi-finalists Harlequins the week after.

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