Saints boss Boyd happy as Haywood makes winning return

Saints boss Chris Boyd
Saints boss Chris Boyd

Saints boss Chris Boyd says it is good to have Mike Haywood back after the hooker made a winning return to action on Saturday afternoon.

Haywood was introduced earlier than expected in the Franklin's Gardens clash with Worcester Warriors due to a head injury sustained by James Fish.

But it was no issue for the replacement as he came on and delivered a typically dynamic 54-minute showing.

Haywood had not played since suffering a serious knee injury at Gloucester last November.

But he looked as though he had never been away, much to the delight of Boyd.

"There was a bit of noise on the field for a while when he came on," Boyd said.

"He hasn't played for 11 months and I said to him before the game 'how many minutes do you think you're capable of?' and he said '80'. He just gave me a wink and a smile.

"In his absence and Dylan Hartley's absence last year, James Fish and Reece Marshall held us together really well in that hooker space, but it is nice to have Mikey back."

Saints scored five tries as they beat Worcester 35-16 at a rain-soaked Gardens.

George Furbank scored twice, with Tom Collins, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Ollie Sleightholme also on the scoresheet.

But Saints were made to work hard for their win as Worcester had led 9-6 at half-time thanks to three Duncan Weir penalties.

"The second half was considerably better and maybe the platform in the first half helped us," Boyd said.

"We just needed to stop playing in the back half of the field and we needed to get possession and territory that we could build on. We did a few times in the second half and reaped the reward.

"They weren't conditions that suit us because we like to play a bit and they were putting pressure on us so we couldn't get out of that end.

"Once you get possession and territory then you can start playing a little bit more.

"We struggled in the first half but we got it together in the second half and away we went."