7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Newly appointed caretaker coaches Budge Pountney and Paul Grayson were in the Saints side that lifted the Heineken Cup at Twickenham in 2000 and face their first European challenge in the coaching hot seat against a team that has won the title twice and been runners-up once.
Like the Saints, Toulouse came through their first two rounds in October unscathed and the back-to-back matches in rounds three and four could determine who progresses through to the knock-out stages.
But while there are those who seek to write off the Saints, who have now installed England World Cup hero Steve Thompson as their new skipper, Noves is having none of it.
"Northampton are a great team and I am not taken in by their lack of form in the Zurich Premiership during the last few weeks. November is a difficult month for any team and losing players to international teams can unsettle any squad," said Noves.
"The changes that are happening off the pitch at Northampton will have no bearing on the team on the pitch. After all, it is the players and not the coaching staff who will be lining up against Toulouse on Saturday.
"If there were key players leaving the club I may look at the situation differently. But as long as the team is together, in the short-term, changes in management are not important.
"We will be preparing for the game in exactly the same way we would prepare for any game. It's been difficult with the international players coming back and we're having to work hard to get a sense of calm before Saturday's match. We have only had three days to prepare for the game and, as Thursday's a rest day for the team, we are not going to have a great deal of preparation time.
"We are likely to be missing Isotola Maka, who has a knee problem, and Yannick Jauzion is suffering from a calf strain. We are hopeful that he will be fit, although Trevor Brennan will not be playing. He has been given the green light to recommence training, but I feel he needs more rest before playing a competitive game."