Tait promises to rise to challenge at The Rec

Newcastle centre Alex Tait insists he will not be daunted by a trip to The Rec on Saturday, as his Falcons side takes on Bath in Guinness Premiership action.

The 19-year-old almost made a victorious league debut two weeks ago in the last-minute defeat to table-toppers Gloucester, but having seen last Friday’s scheduled game against London Wasps postponed, Tait believes a youthful Falcons back line has what it takes to triumph in the West Country.

“There’s no denying it is a relatively inexperienced midfield, but we more than held our own against Gloucester and the confidence we gained from that will stand us in good stead against a very strong Bath side,” said the former Barnard Castle pupil, who wears No.12 for the Falcons after being granted a release from the England Under-20s squad.

“I’m delighted to be playing alongside Tom Dillon in the centres, because we’ve been involved together in a lot of the Guinness A League games and that obviously helps from an understanding point of view when you’re in a midfield partnership.

“He is a strong player, a very physical character who I have a lot of respect for and I’m looking forward to being on the field again with him this Saturday. It was always going to be tough with myself and Tom being an inexperienced centre pairing at Kingsholm, but we felt as if we gave a decent account and we’ve gained a lot of confidence from that.”

With comparisons inevitably made between Alex and older brother Mathew, asked if it was a help or a hindrance Tait junior answers in typically honest and upfront fashion, stating: “A bit of both I suppose.

“It’s probably something I’m stuck with, but all I can do is just concentrate on my own rugby, keep trying to improve and take my chances when they come.

“It’s nice that Mathew has been so successful, and he’s always very supportive of me. The family are all proud of what he’s achieved, and he’s a good role model so from that point of view it’s been great to see him come through and make his mark.

“The flip side of it is that you’re always kind of known as Mat Tait’s brother rather than Alex Tait. People tend to ask you the same questions all the time, it can get a bit predictable but it’s just something I’ve got used to.

“What it hasn’t done is affect my relationship with Mathew at all, we both support each other and want both of us to do well, so it doesn’t really make much of a difference looking at it that way.

“Mat’s actually been at home today so I’ve just seen him and both wished each other good luck for the weekend. I probably won’t get to watch the England game because it’s on straight after our match finishes at Bath, but obviously I hope they win and that he and the rest of the Newcastle boys make a good contribution.”

With Alex having ran in a hat-trick of tries in his Falcons first team debut earlier this season at Spanish champions Cetransa El Salvador, reflecting on his introduction he said: “It was a bit of a dream start really.

“I was happy with the way I played that day, but it’s just a case of trying to improve every time I take the field and contributing as much as I can to the team.

“Playing in the Guinness Premiership is obviously a lot tougher than that game in Valladolid, no disrespect to El Salvador, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to having made my league debut down at Gloucester.”

Informed by the media at his maiden press conference that he had earned a reputation as a ‘bit of a lunatic’ on the field, Tait joked: “I’m pretty happy with that, to be fair.

“It probably sums me up, I love the contact and the more abrasive side of the game, getting involved in the tackle, but obviously the Guinness Premiership is a step up for me and I’m very much learning the game at that level.”

Selected this weekend at inside centre, he added: “I’m delighted to play in whatever position the coaches pick me, whe

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