Preview: Castres v Northampton

Date published: October 21 2016

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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has made several changes to his line-up as they look to make it two Champions Cup wins from two at Castres.

In all there are five changes to the team which began last week's win over Montpellier, with Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Teimana Harrison joining the pack and Rory Hutchinson and James Wilson coming into the backline.

Nic Groom and Stephen Myler continue as the half-back combination while Harry Mallinder joins Hutchinson in the midfield.

For Castres they will be looking to bounce back from last week's loss at Leinster and have made two changes to their backline as Horacio Agulla and Rory Kockott come in on the right wing and scrum-half respectively.

Remi Grosso and Antoine Dupont drop out of the XV while up front Loic Jacquet replaces Rodrigo Capo Ortega at lock, with Anthony Jelonch coming in for Steve Mafi on the flank for the Stade Pierre Antoine clash.

Form: This will be the ninth meeting between the clubs in the European Cup. Northampton have won five and Castres have won three. The last six games have all been won by the home side on the day, with Castres and Saints each winning three games apiece in that run. Castres have lost their last five games against Premiership opposition in the tournament, although their last win against an English club was against Northampton in 2013. Northampton have won just three of 18 games in France in the European Cup (L15), losing on their last six trips across the Channel Saints are aiming to win back to back games against Top 14 opposition for the first time since 2010/2011 when they run won four on the bounce.

The teams:

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 David Smith, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Victor Moreaux, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Mihaita Lazar, 18 Yohan Montes, 19 Thibault Lassale, 20 Alexandre Bias, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Julien Dumora, 23 Florian Vialelle

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 George North, 10 Steve Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Nafi Tuitavake, 23 Ahsee Tuala

Date: Saturday, October 22
Venue: Stade Pierre Antoine
Kick-off: 16:15 local (14:15 GMT) 
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Robert Price (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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