Lawes starts at six as he skippers Saints against Clermont

Courtney Lawes will captain Saints at Clermont on Saturday night (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Courtney Lawes will captain Saints at Clermont on Saturday night (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Courtney Lawes will skipper Saints from the back row when they square up to Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday night (kick-off 8pm GMT).

Boss Chris Boyd has made three changes to his pack following last Sunday's 27-16 Gallagher Premiership defeat at Wasps, with James Fish, Api Ratuniyarawa and Heinrich Brüssow stepping up from the replacements list.

Reece Marshall, Tom Wood and Lewis Ludlam drop to the bench.

Alex Mitchell also comes in, replacing Premiership player of the month for December, Cobus Reinach, who is among the replacements.

Dylan Hartley remains sidelined with a 'grumbly' knee, while the likes of Piers Francis (shoulder) and James Haskell (ankle) are also unavailable.

Saints travel to France to take on a Clermont side who are the only side to currently hold a blemish-free record in Europe this season.

The French giants have claimed four bonus-point wins from as many matches in Challenge Cup Pool 1, including a 41-20 success at Saints back in October.

Saints: Tuala; Collins, Dingwall, Burrell, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Mitchell; van Wyk, Fish, Painter; Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa; Lawes (c), Brüssow, Harrison.

Replacements: Marshall, Waller, Franks, Wood, Ludlam, Reinach, Grayson, Kellaway.