Rugby Union

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder wary of Glasgow threat

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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has described Saturday's European Champions Cup opponents Glasgow as "a class team" as Saints face an early away-day challenge of their tournament credentials.

Reigning Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow open their European campaign at Scotstoun Stadium after last weekend's scheduled Pool Three appointment with Racing 92 was among several games in France postponed due to the Paris terror attacks.

English challengers like Northampton, Bath, Gloucester, Wasps and Exeter have all suffered European defeats in Glasgow, which underlines Saints' degree of difficulty.

"Home games bring a lot of pressure because if you lose, you have to pick up a couple of wins away, so Glasgow will be very determined," Mallinder said.

"They are a class team, playing with confidence, and we've got a good idea how they will approach this game.

"They will try to attack us from all over the field, will look to off-load as much as they can and use their aggressive defence."

Mallinder has made three changes from the side that edged out Pool Three visitors the Scarlets last Saturday, with Ahsee Tuala starting on the wing, fly-half Stephen Myler replacing JJ Hanrahan and Michael Paterson packing down at lock.

Paris-based Racing, meanwhile, head to Llanelli on Saturday to face the Scarlets, with a minute's silence and playing of La Marseillaise planned before kick-off.

"The events in Paris have affected everyone around the globe," Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said. "We expect Racing to be very motivated to put on a performance for the people back home.

"There is going to be an emotional occasion out there on Saturday. It affects everybody in some way, but for the people of France and the players coming across, even more so.

"We will pay our respects, like all sides did last weekend and will do this weekend when playing a French side. The fact we are playing a side from Paris as well has a massive significance."

Bath, whose game at Champions Cup holders Toulon last Sunday was postponed, host Leinster on Saturday, with the Irish team reeling from a 33-6 home defeat against Wasps that rocked their hopes of progressing from Pool Five.

"A week is a long time in sport," Leinster and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton told ahead of the Recreation Ground clash.

"We've got to move on now. Already, our championship hangs on this game, and we have got to show a reaction. We've got to be better with the ball, we've got to show everything we didn't show last week."

Leicester, fresh from an impressive win against Stade Francais in the tournament's opening fixture last Friday, include full-back Telusa Veainu and fly-half Tommy Bell for a trip to Italians Treviso on Saturday, while flanker Tom Croft returns and a powerful replacements' bench features the likes of Matias Aguero, Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Seremaia Bai.

Tigers rugby director Richard Cockerill said: "We made a really good start to the tournament with five points against Stade Francais, but that will not count for much if we cannot follow up with another strong performance in Italy this weekend.

"We've got competition for places in the squad, which means we can pick the freshest team available for this week and have a potential threat throughout the 23-man squad.

"Treviso are always a tough side to play against, and on our last couple of visits we've needed late scores to get a win there, so we know we have to play well, we will have to be physical and we will have to be accurate."

Also on Saturday, Exeter host Pool Two opponents Bordeaux-Begles, knowing they cannot afford to slip up following last Sunday's defeat against the Ospreys, and a number of changes include starts for England lock Geoff Parling, prop Moray Low and full-back Phil Dollman, with Henry Slade switching from centre to fly-half.

"If we are honest, we dropped our intensity and our standards last week, which, against a good side like the Ospreys, you will get punished - and we did," Exeter assistant coach Ali Hepher said.

"We are well aware that Saturday will be another huge test for us, but it's an exciting challenge. The guys are frustrated with how they played last week, and we are expecting a good reaction."

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