Thursday 12 December 2019

Saints to strike blow for Irish provinces

Northampton Saints v Castres Olympique, Franklin's Gardens, 8.0

ULSTER will have one eye on events in Northampton as the second and third-placed teams meet, both needing a win to keep their hopes alive. A home victory would suit the northern province, with Castres just three points behind them going into the last two rounds of the pool stages. The Saints are a further two back.

A Northampton win would also suit Leinster and Munster as the race for the two runners-up spots hots up.

Castres have been rocked by news that scrum-half Rory Kockott looks set to leave at the end of the season, but he starts tonight, while wingers Max Evans and Marcel Garvey will provide some local knowledge.

Given Northampton's recent mini-revival, the hosts should come out on top and provide a boost for Ulster.

Verdict: Northampton

Northampton Saints – B Foden; J Wilson, G Pisi, D Waldouck, J Elliott; S Myler, L Dickson; S Tonga'uiha, D Hartley (c), P Doran-Jones, S Manoa, C Lawes, C Clark, T Wood, P Dowson. Reps: M Haywood, A Waller, T Mercey, M Sorenson, GJ Van Velze, M Roberts, R Lamb, T May.

Castres Olympique – B Dulin; M Evans, R Cabannes, R Lamerat, M Garvey; D Kirkpatrick, R Kockott; Y Forestier, M Bonello, A Peikrishvili, C Samson, J Tekori (c), J Bornman, Y Caballero, A Claassen. Reps: B Mach, S Taumoepeau, M Coetzee, M Rolland, P Bonnefond, P Wannenburg, P Bernard, T Sanchou

REF – G Clancy (IRFU)

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