Mallinder salutes 'Mr Consistent' Haywood after Saints slay Worcester

Mike Haywood scored twice against Worcester (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Mike Haywood scored twice against Worcester (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

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Jim Mallinder hailed 'Mr Consistent' Mike Haywood after the hooker's double helped Saints beat Worcester Warriors 24-14 at Franklin's Gardens.

Haywood scored once in each half as Mallinder's men bounced back from two successive league defeats to return to the Aviva Premiership top six.

Teimana Harrison also got on the scoresheet, with Stephen Myler, who produced a flawless kicking display, adding nine points with the boot.

Worcester scored early and late, but never really threatened to walk away with the win in what was a turgid encounter.

But it was one Haywood would have enjoyed as he grabbed two tries that took his tally to seven for the season, making him Saints' top scorer.

"Mike Haywood has been an absolutely fantastic servant for club over the past few years," Mallinder said.

"With Dylan (Hartley) being unavailable for quite a lot of games, Mikey has stepped up.

"Regularly he plays 80 minutes for us and he really is Mr Consistent.

"He's a very fit bloke. He's not massive but I guess he plays above his weight.

"You don't see him much in the set piece, but we've always got a very reliable set piece, lineout, scrum and he's got that ability to do good things in open country."

Saints craved a win against the side second from bottom of the Premiership after losing at Bath and Newcastle during the previous two weeks.

And though it wasn't the most entertaining of matches, Mallinder stressed that getting the job done was the most important thing.

"We knew they'd kick a lot because it's what they've been doing over the past few weeks," Mallinder said.

"They don't have any intent to attack from their own half, but they kick a lot, put a big, organised chase in and put you under pressure.

"It's just a shame we couldn't have taken a few of our attacking chances.

"We did have chances, particularly in the second half. We got some good turnovers, good penalties, kicked to the corner, really pushing for those tries and just a little bit of inaccuracy cost us a bonus point.

"I'm all about getting out there, getting a performance, winning and improving what we can.

"We want to play entertaining rugby, but I'd rather be winning that playing the entertaining rugby of last week and losing.

"It's got to be a balance.

"We want the fans to come here and enjoy turning out, but sometimes it's difficult against teams like that.

"The players are all trying. You look in the dressing room and there are some tired bodies.

"We're working hard."

Saints will head to Sale Sharks for another crucial Premiership fixture next Friday night.

And Mallinder said: "We've gone back into the top six, which is a good place to be, and we've got two massive games ahead of us.

"We go up to Sale next week and then Leicester coming here (on March 25) will be massive with the internationals back.

"If we can get two wins in those two games, you never know."

Mike Haywood's second try made the points safe

Mike Haywood's second try made the points safe