Preview: Racing 92 v Northampton

Date published: December 11 2015

Dan Carter will run on for his first start in a Racing 92 jersey when Les Ciel et Blanc take on the Northampton Saints in their Champions Cup clash on Saturday.

The World Cup winner takes over the fly-half duties from Remi Tales, who falls out of the matchday 23 altogether.

Other changes in the backline that took on Pau last week include former All Black Joe Rokocoko who starts on the right wing in the place of Argentina’s Juan Imhoff. Also, Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips takes over from Maxime Machenaud.

Another former All Black, Chris Masoe, starts at number eight in place of Antonie Claassen, who takes up a spot on the bench.

Then there is an all new front-row for Racing 92, as Eddy Ben Arous, Ben Tameifuna and captain Dimitri Szarzewski complete the changes.

Meanwhile, there are five changes to the Saints starting line-up from that which ran out against Bath last Saturday, three up front and two in the backs.

Captain Lee Dickson returns to scrum-half to lead the team out at Stade Yves du Manoir in Colombes, with Tom Stephenson partnering Luther Burrell in the centres. 

Up front, there is a first start in Saints colours for Victor Matfield, while Alex Waller returns at prop and Courtney Lawes joins the pack for what will be a stiff test against the Top 14 high-flyers.

Form: These two sides have faced each other on two previous occasions in the Champions Cup and Racing 92 won both those matches,outs Saints, outscoring the Saints 52-19 in the process. Of their last eight matches, Racing 92 have won six and drawn one with their only loss registered against English side Saracens. Racing 92 have won only two of their last seven matches against English opposition – losing five – though both of those wins were against Northampton during the pool stage of the2014/15 season. In their their last eight matches in the Champions Cup, Northampton won six times and conceded 15.6 points per game over those eight fixtures.

The teams:

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Johannes Goosen, 22 Alexandre Dumoulin, 23 Maxime Machenaud.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 George North 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller. 
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Christian Day, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Steve Myler, 23 Ah See Tuala.

Date: Saturday, December 12
Venue: Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Mark Patton (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)