Saints star Picamoles set for huge showdown with Parisse
Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing Louis Picamoles' showdown with Italy star Sergio Parisse at Franklin's Gardens this evening.
The battle between two of the world's finest forwards will be an interesting sub-plot on a night of high stakes in Northampton.Saints need to beat Stade Français to secure Champions Cup rugby for next season.And the clash of the big No.8s will be key in deciding which team plays top-level European rugby in the 2017/18 campaign."It's a big headline - two of the world's best No.8s playing against each other," Mallinder said."Both players are playing outstandingly well."It will be interesting and there's going to be some good match-ups all over the field."Parisse recently propelled Stade to Challenge Cup glory as they overcame Gloucester in Edinburgh.And Mallinder knows just how important the 33-year-old is to the Top 14 giants."He is their talisman," the Saints boss said."He seems to be everywhere and you go looking for him at times."He's playing well at the moment, he likes to chase kick-offs, at other times he's back ready for them to kick to you, his offloading game's immense."Last week, he was running off the line, getting interceptions and putting little chips in to the wingers, so he's a quality player."