Mallinder believes side can do better in their Heineken Cup pool

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Northampton Saints team is heading to France in a positive mood this weekend ahead of the Heineken Cup clash with Castres.

The Saints head to the south of France lying third in Pool 1 after winning bonus points against Munster and the Scarlets. But while Mallinder acknowledged that it hadn’t been the best of starts for his team, there was plenty of desire among the players to stay in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages.

“We were disappointed to lose our first two games in the Heineken Cup but it doesn’t stop our desire to win this game and the rest of the games,” he said. “We know we can still qualify. It’s still in our hands and we’re going to go to Castres very determined.

“All of the attention is probably going to be on the other two teams at the top of the pool and probably not going to be on us. This means that we can concentrate on our own job in hand which is winning in Castres. We’re in a good frame of mind, good spirits and positive that we can do that.”

A number of suspensions and injuries have meant that Mallinder has introduced several changes to the team which started at Welford Road last Saturday, but instead of being downbeat he said that it was a great opportunity for the players who are coming in to show what they can do.

“We’re disappointed that we’ve lost a few players, but the lads who are coming in are capable of getting a positive result on Saturday,” he added. “We’ve spoken all season about the strength in depth we have here and we’ve got confidence in all the players to play.”

Saturday’s game is being shown live via the red button on Sky Sports 1, and you can also follow the action with the Saints match blog on www.facebook.com/OfficialNorthamptonSaints and get score updates straight to your mobile phone via www.twitter.com/SaintsRugby

Starting XV:
15 Ben Foden
14 Vasily Artemyev
13 George Pisi
12 Tom May
11 Jamie Elliott
10 Stephen Myler
9 Lee Dickson
1 Soane Tonga’uiha
2 Dylan Hartley (C)
3 Paul Doran Jones
4 Courtney Lawes
5 Mark Sorenson
6 Tom Wood
7 Ben Nutley
8 Samu Manoa

Replacements
16 Mike Haywood
17 Alex Waller
18 Brian Mujati
19 James Craig
20 James Ingle
21 Martin Roberts
22 Ryan Lamb
23 Jon Clarke

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