Haywood only has eyes for Saints

Mike HaywoodMike Haywood
Mike Haywood
A new contract and news of a new baby on the way - it’s been quite a start to 2020 for Saints hooker Mike Haywood.

And the current period of self-isolation has not only given him time to reflect on it, but also to look to the future.

Haywood has been spending his time at home building furniture as he puts the carpentry skills he has learned at Moulton College to good use.

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And the 28-year-old admits it is something he would like to continue to work on when his time as a rugby player ends.

That shouldn’t be for many years yet as Haywood, who has 215 Saints appearances to his name, appears to have plenty of life left in his legs.

And he intends to use it to the benefit of Saints, stressing he can’t see himself playing for any other team, even if his current club don’t want him when his current deal concludes in the summer of 2023.

“This is my 10th season at the club,” said Academy graduate Haywood. “I started at Northampton when I was 18 and it’s gone so quick.

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“Last month I was thinking about it and I won the Prem when I was 22, 23 so it’s crazy and crazy to think it’s that long ago.

“There are a few original people left and all the rest are young players or players who have come in so I do feel a little bit old.

“I’ve always wanted to stay at one club.

“When I was younger I always used to stick with my teams.

“I played for a little village club when I was younger and I stayed with them for six years, then I played rugby at Colchester and played from Under-9s to Under-16s and I’m not one to chop and change.

“If Northampton don’t want me at the end of my contract, I’ll probably retire.

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“I think Dyls (Dylan Hartley) was the same because he probably got offered a lot of money to go to France but it would be a weird feeling not to be at a club that’s done so much for you and that you love playing for.”

Haywood, who was born in Southend, has made Northampton his home.

He already has one son, Max, and has another on the way with partner Hannah.

And there is no doubt that he is becoming something of a professional at domestic life during this period away from Franklin’s Gardens.

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“It is actually quite nice to be able to spend time at home with your family and do things we wouldn’t have done normally,” he explained.

“I’ve got time to sort the house out, doing some painting and things like that.

“It’s also been really fun making the furniture, things like a shoe rack, something for the kitchen.

“I did a site carpentry course at Moulton, which has stopped at the moment, and I thought I’d try to keep developing myself.

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“For me, I thought once I’ve finished rugby I would have something to do if I’m struggling and during this lockdown period I wanted to use the skills I’ve learned at Moulton.

“Once I’ve finished the course this year, we need to get a health and safety card and I can work properly on site.

“I’ve got a three-year contract and if I get another one after that I’d obviously like to continue but I’m basing things on these three years.

“I’ll be 31, 32 but it’s a good way to plan.

“I think Woody (Tom Wood) has looked at it like that. He trained to be a tree surgeon and he’s got his woodwork company and stuff like that so if he didn’t get a contract last year he had something to do.

“It’s the same with me and I just want to have something set, ready prepped where if they don’t want me at Northampton any more, I have an option.”