It is very much a case of old rivals, new faces, this Saturday lunchtime when Castres come to Franklin’s Gardens in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Following a couple of disappointing seasons by the standards of the 2013 Top 14 champions, Castres are well in the mix heading into the second half of the campaign and currently sit sixth in the table with four wins from their last six matches.
They also have some of the league’s top performers, not least winger David Smith, who has had a massive impact since arriving from Toulon in 2015. The Samoan is in the season top 10 metre makers, defenders beaten, offloads and breaks and has scored 11 tries in his 25 appearances to date.
Full back Geoffrey Palis is also in the top 10 metre makers with scrum-half Antoine Dupont leading the way in the number of defenders beaten and tying Smith in his breaking ability.
Meanwhile up front back rower Mathieu Babillot is a ball-winning machine, snaring both turnovers and steals on a regular basis. And fly half Benjamin Urdapilleta has kicked the second most number of goals across the league, too.
There are a number of familiar players as well in the Castres squad, including former Leicester players Steve Mafi and Horacio Agulla, and star scrum-half Rory Kockott.
So the Saints will need all your support if they are to maintain the recent momentum from the wins over Sale, Gloucester and Bristol. Tickets remain on sale all week, with groups available throughout the stadium.
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