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Heineken Cup preview: Castres v Northampton
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Castres host Northampton in the Heineken Cup on Saturday in what promises to be a hard fought encounter.
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.
Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Max Evans, 10 Remi Tales (capt), 9 Rory Kockott; 1 Mihaita Lazar, 2 Brice Mach, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Rodrigo Capo, 6 Jannie Bornman, 7 Piula Faasalele, 8 Antonie Claasen.
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; 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Calum Clark, 8 Sam Dickinson.
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.
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