Donal Lenihan has called on Heineken Champions Cup organisers to sanction teams who field weakened sides in the competition.

The call from the former Ireland international player and manager comes in the aftermath of the opening round of the 2020/21 renewal, where subsequent to Northampton's defeat to Bordeaux, coach Chris Boyd said "we’ll give some youngsters a run next week and give some boys a rest".

Leinster, who beat Montpellier away last week, are the Saints’ opponents at the RDS on Saturday (1pm).

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"It’s an absolute disgrace," Lenihan told the RTÉ Rugby Podcast. 

"Teams work so hard to get into Europe.

"At least Northampton picked their [best] team for the first match.

"Gloucester sent their kids to Lyon and they ended up [conceding] 55 points.

"Bonus points in Europe are huge but now points difference is going to be more important than before because there is going to be a glut of teams at the top.

"If one team sends their seconds out in the first match, it completely distorts the whole tournament and there has to be some sort of sanction from EPCR [European Professional Club Rugby] against the likes of Northampton going forward. 


CHAMPIONS CUP STANDING, FIXTURES AND RESULTS


"There was something before where you had to show that you had so many injuries, that you made so many changes in your squad but when you are doing that from the outset of the tournament, what message does it give?"

Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman concurred.

"If you are the head of the EPCR and you hear that after the first round, you are going to be pretty frustrated, particularly a club like Northampton, who have won it [in 2000] and been to a final [2011]," said the RTÉ Rugby analyst. 

"In fairness, they are a well-resourced team, they have quality players, they have a good coaching staff...to send a second string to Leinster, there is only going to be one result.

"Montpellier had very little interest last weekend, they are going to have zero interest now."

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