Centre Burrell misses out as winless Saints host Clermont


Saints win against Gloucester in the Premiership last Saturday, was their first in the competition since September
European Champions Cup
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens Date: Saturday, 13 January Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC local radio and on the BBC Sport website and app

Northampton have made three changes for their European Champions Cup game against last year’s finalists Clermont Auvergne on Saturday.

Winless Saints are already eliminated but their French visitors can ensure they qualify for the quarter-finals with a win in their penultimate match.

Tom Stephenson, Kieran Brookes and Christian Day come in for Saints after last Saturday’s win against Gloucester.

The last-minute victory was their third in all competitions since September.

Saints centre Luther Burrell misses the game with an ankle injury and is replaced by Stephenson in the midfield.

Day comes into the second row alongside Api Ratuniyarawa, while Courtney Lawes shifts to blindside flanker.

“It’s definitely not a dead rubber – we’ve got to do this for our own benefit, the benefit of people around us and the supporters,” Northampton technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney told BBC Radio Northampton.

Remi Lamerat and Benjamin Kayser return for Top 14 side Clermont.

Clermont coach Franck Azema said: “We are at the top of the pool and have the opportunity to go for qualifying this week. This is part of the club’s goals and it would be a good thing to validate it as soon as possible.”

The unbeaten French side lead Pool 2 with 18 points, ahead of second-place Ospreys on 13 points and Saracens on 11 points – who play each other on Saturday.

Saturday’s teams

Northampton: Ahsee Tuala, Ken Pisi, Rob Horne, Tom Stephenson, Ben Foden, Harry Mallinder, Nic Groom; Campese Ma’afu, Dylan Hartley (capt), Kieran Brookes, Api Ratuniyarawa, Christian Day, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Teimana Harrison.

Replacements: Mikey Haywood, Francois van Wyk, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Michael Paterson, Mitch Eadie, Cobus Reinach, James Grayson, Nafi Tuitavake.

Clermont: Isaiah Toeava, Nick Abendanon, Peter Betham, Remi Lamerat, Remi Grosso, Luke McAlister, Morgan Parra (capt); Etienne Falgoux, Benjamin Kayser, Rabah Slimani, Flip Van Der Merwe, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly, Alexandre Lapandry, Fritz Lee.

Replacements: Yohan Beheregaray, Raphael Chaume, Davit Zirakashvili, Paul Jedrasiak, Art hur Iturria, Charly Trussardi, Scott Spedding, Viktor Kolelishvili.

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