Next up on our overview of Heineken Champions Cup Pool B teams are one-time winners Northampton Saints.
Heineken Champion’s Cup record
Northampton have won EPCR’s leading competition once, in the 1999-00 season when they beat Munster Rugby 9-8 in the final at Twickenham Stadium. In 2011, they reached the final once again but fell to a 33-22 defeat at the hands of Leinster Rugby.
Last season, Northampton failed to progress from the pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup, losing all four of their Pool A matches.
They picked up bonus points in their home and away defeats to Ulster Rugby, however, which was enough to secure passage to the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16, although they lost 31-21 to fellow Gallagher Premiership side Gloucester Rugby.
Director of rugby
Northampton had a change of director of rugby over the summer, with former England international Phil Dowson taking over from Chris Boyd, who has switched to a consultancy role.
Dowson graduated to the position from the club’s coaching set-up, which he had been a part of since his retirement as a player in 2017.
Ex-No.8 Dowson played seven times for England, all in 2012, and turned out for Newcastle Falcons, Northampton and Worcester Warriors at club level.
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Northampton have a plethora of internationals across their squad. Academy product Alex Coles made his England debut in November this year, while compatriot and fellow lock Courtney Lawes is vastly experienced at international level.
Flanker Lewis Ludlam and prop Paul Hill have also featured for England, with Australia back-row forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto a new addition ahead of this season.
In the backs, Tommy Freeman and George Furbank are both talented England full-backs, while scrum-half Alex Mitchell is another pushing for a starting spot with the national side.
Scotland centre Rory Hutchinson is another talent, and South African wing Courtnall Skosan made an impression during his maiden Heineken Champions Cup campaign last season.
Northampton’s first Pool B match sees them travel to last year’s Heineken Champions Cup winners Stade Rochelais on December 10. The reverse fixture will close their pool stage campaign, with Northampton hosting the TOP 14 side on January 21.
In between those games, Northampton face Irish province Munster Rugby, first at home and then away, on December 18 and January 14 respectively.