Planet Rugby

Preview: Castres v Northampton

11th October 2013 12:34

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SKY_MOBILE Dylan Hartley - Northampton Saints

Captain: Dylan Hartley

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)

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Friday , October 17
Harlequins vs Castres19:45
Saturday , October 18
Sale vs Munster13:00
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:15
Leicester vs Ulster19:45
Glasgow vs Bath15:15
Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton17:15
Sunday , October 19
Leinster vs Wasps17:15
Toulon vs Scarlets15:15
Toulouse vs Montpellier13:00
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso13:00
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2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65
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2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
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Pool 3
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2Saracens620
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4Zebre60
Pool 4
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1Clermont Auvergne624
2Harlequins616
3Scarlets611
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Pool 5
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2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60
Pool 6
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1Munster623
2Gloucester614
3Edinburgh612
4Perpignan67