Mike Haywood says the faith the Saints coaches have shown in him has given him a massive confidence boost.
The hooker retained his place in the starting 15 for last weekend’s trip to Treviso, despite the return of England man Dylan Hartley.
The club captain made his entry from the bench during the second half, with Saints having already scored four tries.
Haywood had continued his fine form with a solid display, hitting all of his lineouts and proving a force around the park.
And it was a glowing vindication of Jim Mallinder’s decision to reward the 23-year-old for his autumn form by keeping him in the side.
“With Dyls coming back there was a possibility he was going to go straight back into the side, but they kept faith with the lads who had taken their chances and it was great,” said Haywood.
“It gives you confidence and you get a lot from the coaches keeping you in so it’s was great for me.
“We did really well over in Italy against a team that have been fighting for survival in the PRO12.
“It was great to go there, get a win and get those five points and now we’re looking forward to the weekend.
“We know they will be tough again this weekend and we just want to get those five points.”