Englishman Mike Haywood celebrates Grand Slam win

WHILE England were nursing their Irish-inflicted wounds in Dublin on Saturday, there was still some who were able to celebrate a monumental Grand Slam achievement.

The country’s Under-20s went one better than their Elite compatriots after beating Ireland 41-15 to secure the age group’s Six Nations – and Grand Slam.

Former Colchester youth Mike Haywood played a key role in the triumph, featuring in four of the five wins and scoring his first try for his country in the memorable win in Athlone.

The hooker, who hadn’t even featured for England before the tournament, was still on cloud nine when Love Rugby caught up with him this week.

The proud owner of a Grand Slam medal said: “The whole Six Nations campaign has been absolutely amazing. It was always going to be difficult going to Ireland but getting the win and scoring my first try just capped everything. I was in the right place at the right time following a real team effort.

“We just took one game at a time, working hard on what we had to do before looking at the next match.”

England’s Grand Slam was crowned after the comprehensive win in Ireland, Haywood scoring the fourth of six tries on the night after an earlier clash of heads left him needing stitches.

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Head coach Rob Hunter said: “We knew what we were capable of before the tournament but the challenge was to make sure we delivered. The lads have performed extremely well throughout the campaign.

“They set their own goals and have worked very hard to achieve them. The whole experience has been fantastic.”

Haywood, a regular of the Northampton Saints second XV, is now setting his sights on further international glory in the Junior World Championships in Italy in June.

But ever humble, he added: “I am hoping to make the squad and get selected as it is certainly a tournament I am looking forward to.

“It has been tough playing for England and different compared to playing for the Wanderers (Saints seconds). It was a lot faster but really enjoyable and I didn’t feel out of my comfort zone.”

FACTFILE

The road to Grand Slam glory for England Under-20s

Wales 20-26 England

England 74-3 Italy

England 19-8 France

England 56-8 Scotland

Ireland 15-46 England

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