Northampton Saints v Castres - Heineken Cup match preview

Last Updated: 11/01/13 8:09pm

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Northampton will welcome back England flanker Tom Wood for their must-win Heineken Cup clash with Castres on Friday at Franklin's Gardens.

The Saints kept alive their quarter-final hopes with victory over Ulster at Ravenhill in round four, however they remain five points off an automatic qualification place.

Victory over the French outfit, though, will see them climb to second and keep the heat on Ulster at the top.

Wood comes into a rejigged back-row, with Phil Dowson moving to No 8, while lock Samu Manoa also comes into the pack.

The only change in the back division sees James Wilson replace the injured Ken Pisi (ankle) on the wing.

Castres have handed want-away scrum-half Rory Kockott a start for the Pool Four encounter.

Kockott wants to leave the club in a bid to further his Test ambitions however he will link up with former Hurricanes No 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick at half-back.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.

Castres: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Max Evans, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Jannie Bornman, 5 Iosefa Tekori, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Saimone Taumoepeau, 18 Michael Coetzee, 19 Matthias Rolland, 20 Paul Bonnefond, 21 Pedrie Wannenburg, 22 Pierre Bernard, 23 Thomas Sanchou.

What they said...

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder

"We still have a massive point to prove in Europe, and the players know what is expected of them on Friday night.

"We need a win to keep our destiny in our own hands, especially as Castres are two points ahead of us in the pool.

"We also know that it will not be easy against one of the top teams in France. Castres have been in superb form over the past few months and have been playing a style of rugby which makes the most of their big forwards and speed out wide."

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