Picamoles relishing Montpellier clash
NEWS: Northampton Saints' French import Louis Picamoles is relishing the chance to lock horns with former side Montpellier in a mouthwatering European Champions Cup clash.
Picamoles is set to make his first Champions Cup appearance for the Saints against the Challenge Cup holders on Saturday.
The hard-hitting France international joined Montpellier as a 13-year-old and spent five seasons in their senior ranks before moving on to taste European glory with Toulouse in 2010.
And Picamoles is relishing the opportunity to clash with a former team and Pool 4 rivals in his new colours.
"I left the club a long time ago but playing against Montpellier is always special for me. It's the club where I discovered rugby but I've learned to deal with it over the years. It's an important game for me but I try to enjoy it rather than add more pressure to it.
"The club has changed a lot since I left. There are only two players I know from my time there and that's flank Fulgence Ouedraogo and scrumhalf Benoît Paillaugue. There are a lot of South Africans in their pack and they play like South Africans with a lot of physicality. It's going to be a fierce battle up front," he said.
Picamoles has already made his mark at Franklin's Gardens, scoring his first try in Saints colours against Bristol in September and the 30-year-old is feeling refreshed after his move across the English Channel.
"The move has been great for me. It's very refreshing and I think I needed it. I was a bit worried about it but I quickly felt at ease at the club. My teammates and the staff have been great to make me feel welcome. Then once we're on the pitch it's easier because we all speak the same language.
"I feel really good in Northampton and it only gets better with my teammates as the games go on. Slowly but surely, and even if there is still a language barrier, I feel in sync with them on the pitch so it's great so far.
"It's a big change for me and there are a lot of players I have to get to know. It's going to take some time to get used to this new environment but I feel better and better week on week. I feel at ease in the squad and I feel better on the pitch because of it," he added.