After conceding two tries in the opening 10 minutes things didn’t get much better for Saints as Leinster ran in two more scores to secure the bonus point before half-time.
Whatever Saints tried in attack was absorbed by the Dubliners’ defence, and although Lee Dickson burrowed over from close range 12 minutes from time it was barely even consolation for the hosts, with the scrum-half’s effort sandwiched by two more Leinster tries.
Tom Wood summed up the feelings in the Saints camp.
“There’s not a single positive we can take out of that game,” the flanker told SaintsTV. “Often when you lose to a better side you have to take your hat off to them and give them the credit they deserve.
“But we lost without ever playing our hand. We’ve been on the back foot, stood off them for most of the first half, and given them a 20-point lead. You’re never going to recover from that against a side like this.
“I’m pretty embarrassed by my own performance and the team performance. It was miles off the mark and yet another lesson that we didn’t come for today.
“That was worse than Ulster last year, which I didn’t think was possible, and we’ve got no option now but to regroup, find a bit of pride and hopefully pull off a turnaround next week.”
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder apologised to the fans in his post-match interviews, saying that they don’t pay to watch performances like that, while Dickson added that Saints had been on the receiving end of what they have done to other teams this season.
“They did to us what we’ve done to teams when they’ve come here this season,” Dickson told BBC Radio Northampton. “Teams are hard to get on top of when they’re on the front foot, and they were on the front foot quite a bit. They got over the gain line and we didn’t stop them.
“We’ve got to work hard now, go back to the drawing board, and put in a performance next week.”