James Wilson has warned Saints that Castres will be desperate to ‘defend their own turf’ when the two teams meet on Saturday.
Wilson and Co head to the Stade Pierre-Antoine knowing they will have their work cut out to claim a win in their Heineken Cup opener.
Castres, though 11th in the Top 14 standings, remain unbeaten on their own patch this season and rested key men in the 34-0 humbling at Brive last weekend.
Wilson is aware that French teams place huge emphasis on their home games and has outlined what Saints can expect this weekend.
“The Heineken Cup’s going to be pretty massive,” said the Kiwi, who joined Saints from Bourgoin in 2012. “Away from home in France, it’s going to be tough.
“Obviously I had a season over there and I know the French lads get up for the ones at home. They focus on winning all of them so they’ll put out a very strong team.
“They’ll give it a good crack and defend their home turf. We know going into it that they’re a strong side and will be really competitive at the weekend.”
Saints know all about how tough a proposition a game against Castres across the Channel can be, having lost to them in the Heineken Cup opener in Toulouse last season.
But they can’t afford another slow start, with Ospreys and Leinster lying in wait in Pool 1, and Wilson said: “It’s crucial to win on Saturday, especially with the sort of group we’re in.
“Every point counts so we’ll be going in there to take them out. But we know it’s going to be a tough one first off.
“Castres away last season, we lost that one and it put us on the back foot for the rest of the competition so we want to get a win.
“That’s what we’re focused on getting so we’ll go away and give it our best shot.”