Ken Pisi takes on Castres last season © www.redhatphoto.com
Rugby News King: We’re looking forward to French test
Alex King says that Saints are under no illusions as to the challenge facing them in Castres in this weekend’s opening round of the Heineken Cup.
The Saints are heading to the Stade Pierre Antoine for the third time in four years – last year’s away match having been played in Toulouse – to face a Castres outfit that is not just unbeaten at home in 2013/14 but who are also the reigning French champions.
And while he acknowledged that Saints will go into the game as underdogs in many peoples’ eyes, King says that the experiences of playing at the Twickenham Stoop, Kingsholm and Welford Road already this campaign could help the travellers.
“We’ve had three tough trips away in the Aviva Premiership and French teams at home are notoriously difficult to play,” King commented. “The beginning of the season has been a good test for us. We went well at Quins, were pretty unlucky down at Gloucester and fronted up well at Leicester in a game which could have gone either way.
“We know what to expect. Castres are the French champions, they’ve got a very good pedigree and good players, and now we’re looking forward to it.
“We want to win away from home. If you can win in France it sets you up very well in the pool, so that’s been our focus this week. I think Castres will be bringing their A side though. They rested a few players against Brive last weekend, but have a very strong spine of the team at eight, nine and 10, and they’ll want to put on a show for their home fans.”
King has more knowledge of French rugby than many people at Franklin’s Gardens having spent the past six seasons playing and coaching at Clermont Auvergne. He talks about those experiences in this week’s Official Saints Podcast, which will be free on SoundCloud
on Friday afternoon!