'Unbelievable' Myler saluted by Saints team-mates

In the end, it was like he had never been away.

Thursday, 5th October 2017, 7:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 4:52 am
Stephen Myler produced a key cameo on his Saints return last Saturday (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Stephen Myler made his long-awaited return to first-team action last Saturday, and he celebrated his comeback by doing what he does best.

With Saints under a little pressure at 27-22 up, a penalty was won in opposition territory.

It wasn't an easy one by any stretch of the imagination as it was a fair way out and towards the left of the posts.

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But up stepped metronomic Myler to send the ball between the posts and seal a fourth successive victory in the process.

With just three minutes remaining, there was no way back for Harlequins.

And Saints could celebrate a win that moved them to the top of the table.

The glee of finishing the weekend at the summit was enhanced by the return of Myler.

And the 33-year-old's team-mates were certainly happy to see him back in action after recovering from the knee injury sustained against Saracens at Stadium MK in April.

"It's unbelievable," said scrum-half Nic Groom, who was named man of the match at Franklin's Gardens last Saturday.

"He comes onto the field after being on the sidelines for a couple of months, gets his hands on the ball, kicks the perfect touch-finder, then makes a break and kicks a perfect penalty.

"He's an incredibly composed player, a confident man and any player would be lucky to have Stevie in their team.

"It's great to have him back."

And it's not just on the pitch that Myler makes a difference for Saints.

"He's the voice of reason - really cool and composed," Groom added.

"He's confident in his own ability, he's a student of the game, always looking at trends analysing teams that sort of thing.

"He's really a calming influence.

"We've got some young playmakers in those positions at the moment and having Stevie there makes a big difference in our approach and how we analyse teams.

"It bodes well for us."

Harry Mallinder has done well at fly-half in the absence of Myler and Piers Francis.

But last Saturday showed, once again, that there is no substitute for experience.

"His experience goes a long way, especially for us young lads," said wing Tom Collins of Myler.

"You're looking and you've got a lot of confidence in him.

"You know he's going to come on and steady the ship. That's what Stevie brings."

Mallinder may not always have had the easiest time during the opening few weeks of the season, but he has provided some moments of magic.

And it can't be forgotten he has helped to steer the team to four wins in a row, three of which have provided the full five points.

"Whoever gets the jersey to play, they've got that responsiblity and the great thing is that Harry is a highly talented player," said Groom, who has started alongside Mallinder in each of the five games so far.

"We're building every week to reach that perfect game."