Haywood: Sandy Park encounter a step up for Saints

STEPPING IT UP - Mike Haywood (Picture: Linda Dawson)
STEPPING IT UP - Mike Haywood (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Mike Haywood says Saints’ trip to Sandy Park on Saturday will be a big step up from the past two weeks.

Haywood and a number of other players on the fringes of the first team made a big impact during the LV= Cup period.

Saints won both of their games, beating Newport before seeing off Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday.

But they return to Premiership matters this weekend and Haywood, who starts in the absence of England hooker Dylan Hartley, knows what kind of challenge awaits in the west country.

“It’s going to be another step up,” said the 22-year-old. “Exeter away is going to be a tough game and hopefully we can put in a performance down there and play well.

“We’ve been talking about it a lot and Exeter is going to be really tough. Hopefully we can go down there and do a job.

“Looking at them, they’ve been strong and we’re going to have to target them up front. We’re going to have to play well to get on top of them.”

Saints took Exeter to task in the forwards last January, pummelling their opponents in the scrum and maul on the way to a 30-19 Premiership victory.

And Haywood is hoping for more of the same as he and his team-mates bid to secure their ninth successive win in all competitions.

“We had quite a good maul down there last year and we knew that was going to be a place we would target them,” he said.

“Hopefully we can do it again, but they’re a good team and it will be a difficult game for us.”