Practice has made things perfect for Saints hooker Haywood

ENJOYING HIMSELF - Saints hooker Mike Haywood (Picture: Linda Dawson)
ENJOYING HIMSELF - Saints hooker Mike Haywood (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Mike Haywood believes practice has made perfect in the Saints set piece this season.

The 22-year-old hooker has taken over throwing duties from Dylan Hartley in recent weeks, impressing in the England star’s absence.

Haywood has also played a key role in the scrum, with the Saints pack inspiring the team to nine consecutive victories in all competitions.

And the youngster says he is now feeling more comfortable than ever in the Northampton shirt, having been eased into the side over the past few years.

“I’m feeling really good,” said Academy graduate Haywood.

“Lineouts have gone a lot better this season, and that was an area I really wanted to focus on.

“The set piece in general has gone a lot better this year and that enables me to do my other stuff around the pitch and do what I want to do.

“It’s about more training, focusing and experience. I’ve had more game time over the years.

“It’s about repetition. The more practice you do, the better you get and hopefully I can carry on the way I have been.”

Haywood has learned a lot from club captain Hartley, whose lineout statistics are up there with the best in the world game.

And he has also paid tribute to the man who has masterminded Saints’ forwards success, coach Dorian West.

“They coaches are happy with me,” said Haywood. “At the beginning of the year they said to me about trying to improve the lineout, because it wasn’t a very strong area of mine.

“It’s gone along nicely. The coaches have been good in helping us, especially Nobby (West). If I miss a throw he’s always saying why and how I can improve so it’s great.

“Dylan is a great help to me as well. He’s always helping me to improve and it’s the same with Dorian. They’re great people to be with and to be behind Dyls is great.”