Preview: Castres v Northampton

11th Oct 2013, 12:56

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Captain: Dylan Hartley

Captain: Dylan Hartley

Northampton have made five changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's Heineken Cup clash with Castres at Stade Pierre Antoine.

Northampton have made five changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's Heineken Cup game against Castres.

After acquitting themselves well at Welford Road last Saturday, Saints this week travel to France and the home of the reigning Top 14 champions for a tough opening match in what has been called the 'Pool of Death' by many commentators.

Christian Day returns to the second-row after missing the trip to Leicester, with Ken Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i and Calum Clark all coming back into the starting line-up. There is also a first start for Australian prop Salesi Ma'afu, who makes his first team debut at tighthead at Stade Pierre Antoine.

Tom Mercey, Samu Manoa, Phil Dowson, Lee Dickson and Jamie Elliott all drop to the bench.

Meanwhile, Castres have named a strong line-up for this opener as Remi Tales and Rory Kockott return at fly-half and scrum-half respectively, with Scotland wing Max Evans also starting.

Antonie Claassen is at eight alongside Piula Faasalele and Jannie Bornman while Richie Gray wears four as the French champions look to get their campaign off on the right foot.

The teams:

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Max Evans, 10 Remi Tales (capt), 9 Rory Kockott, 9 Antonie Claassen, 7 Piula Faasalele, 6 Jannie Bornman, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Karena Wihongi, 18 Michael Coetzee, 19 Christophe Samson, 20 Pedrie Wannenburg, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Remi Grosso, 23 Daniel Kirkpatrick.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Steve Myler, 9 Kahn Fotualii, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 James Wilson, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Date: Saturday, October 12
Kick-off: 16:40 local (15:40 BST)
Venue: Stade Pierre Antoine
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)