Dorian West hailed the ever-reliable Mike Haywood after the hooker was named man of the match in Saints’ win against Gloucester.
Haywood, who has been a more than able stand-in for Dylan Hartley in recent seasons, impressed in the 15-3 victory at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.
The 24-year-old was part of a dominant Saints forward effort, with Gloucester unable to find any answers to the power of the home side.
And forwards coach West was delighted with the contribution of Haywood.
“I’m pleased with Mikey,” West said. “He never lets us down.
“He’s got lots to his game, really good in the loose.
“We’ve been working hard on his set piece and you’re seeing what he can do now.
“He’s had a bit of experience and don’t forget - he started (Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup) finals for us that we’ve won.
“He’s got some experience, he’s been around a bit and he’s doing well.”
Haywood has impressed in the absence of Hartley, who sustained concussion in the defeat to Saracens on November 7.
And when asked for an update on Hartley’s progress, West said: “He trained with us a little bit this week, so hopefully he’s improving and will be back pretty soon.”
On the win against Gloucester in wet and windy conditions at the Gardens, West added: “I said before the game to the lads that it was perfect weather for us up front, especially how the scrum’s been going.
I thought they could have got a yellow card a lot earlier than they did (prop Yann Thomas was sin-binned in the 78th minute).
“Last week after three penalties against Glasgow they had someone (Ryan Grant) in the bin and I think it was seven or eight tonight at not until the last minute.
“But overall it was pleasing.”