Preview: Castres v Northampton

Date published: October 19 2012

Ryan Lamb returns to the Northampton Saints fly-half berth for Friday's Heineken Cup clash against Castres in Toulouse.

Ryan Lamb returns to the Northampton Saints fly-half berth for Friday's Heineken Cup clash against Castres at Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse.

There are two changes to the starting XV that got Saints' campaign off to a winning start last Sunday against Glasgow as Stephen Myler shifts from 10 to full-back in the place of James Wilson while Lamb takes over the pivot role.

There is one change to the bench with the addition of Scott Armstrong to the replacements.

With just a five-day turnaround between the Round 1 and 2 clashes Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the English side has a tough challenge ahead of them.

“The tournament scheduling has not been particularly kind to us in the first two rounds, and having just five days to prepare for a tough match is certainly not ideal,” he said.

“Having played Castres in both of our last two Heineken Cup campaigns we have an idea of what to expect – some big runners, strong set piece work and accurate goal kicking.

“We also know how difficult Castres are to play at home. They have not lost in front of their own fans this season, and even though the game is in Toulouse they will still be very difficult to beat.

“However we are going to France in good spirits after showing our character last Sunday to fight back and secure a bonus point win, and we will be doing everything we can to get the positive result we want.”

Northampton Saints will be looking for revenge after suffering a 41-22 away defeat to Castres in last season's Pool stages which ended the 2011 finalist's hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.

Castres may have struggled against Ulster in Belfast last week but the French side have won 17 of their 26 European games on home soil.

But the hosts have won just one of their last 10 Heineken Cup matches – against Saints.

Meanwhile, Castres have been struck by a triple injury blow as full-back Brice Dulin (thigh), centre Max Evans (ribs) and loose forward Yannick Caballero (ankle) are all unavailable.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Castres Olympique: 15 Romain Teulet, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Paul Bonnefond, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Rémi Tales, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Piula Faasalele, 6 Jannie Bornman, 5 Christophe Samson, 4 Iosefa Tekori, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Mihaïta Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Yannick Forestier, 18 Michaël Coetzee, 19 Matthias Rolland, 20 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21 Pedrie Wannenburg, 22 Romain Cabannes, 23 Marc Andreu.

Northampton Saints: 15 Stephen Myler, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Tom May, 23 Scott Armstrong.

Date: Friday, October 19
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse
Kick-off: 21.00 local (20.00 BST / 19.00 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland