French giants Stade – who were crowned this season’s European Rugby Challenge Cup winners following their final victory over Gloucester Rugby earlier this month – travel to Franklin’s Gardens to meet Jim Mallinder’s Saints on Friday evening.
The winner will secure the 20th place in next season’s Champions Cup, but both teams will go into the game aware their opposition are something of an unknown quantity.
The two sides have never met before, with English side Northampton having the luxury of home advantage in their bid to make Europe’s premier club competition.
Saints were gritty winners over Connacht Rugby in Northampton last Saturday as they reached the final, but Mallinder will know Stade will be a different proposition.
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