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Rugby | Heineken Cup

Jim Mallinder © Gallo Images

Saints' Euro faith set for Castres test



Northampton know they risk going out of the European Cup when they face French club Castres at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

The Saints kept their hopes of qualifying out of Pool Foor with a surprise win over group favourites Ulster in Belfast last time out, just over a week after a bonus-point loss to the Irish side on home soil.

Northampton are currently two points behind Castres and five adrift of Ulster and Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: "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.

"It is a massive challenge for us and all of the focus has been on what we need to do on Friday. We are just about playing knockout rugby, so getting the win is all that matters.

"But we've been playing well recently, scoring good tries and defending well, so there is plenty for us to build on and we are in a positive frame of mind to get our home form back on track."

Meanwhile Premiership relegation favourites Sale include Josh Beaumont – son of former England Grand Slam captain Bill Beaumont – at No 8 for their Pool Six clash at home to Montpellier.

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