Tait issues Newcastle Falcons challenge

Newcastle fullback Alex Tait insists the Falcons must return to winning ways this Saturday at Kingston Park, as they play host to Guinness Premiership visitors London Irish.

The 21-year-old makes his 18th appearance of the season in the televised clash, with his side keen to return to their top-half-of-the-table position having dropped down to eighth last weekend.

“It’s a massively important game, and could be the turning point in our season,” said Tait, who started in last weekend’s 25-13 defeat at high-flying Northampton.

“If we can get a win this Saturday then we’re right back in the mix, the middle of the table is extremely tight at the moment and four or five points would put us in with a shout of being in the top half again.

“It was obviously disappointing to slip out of that top six last weekend down at Northampton, but they’re a class side and we have to take the positives from that game into the London Irish match.”

With the seasonal weather again set to provide tricky conditions underfoot, Tait said: “The pitch hasn’t been fantastic this year, but that’s not an excuse because it’s the same for both sides.

“The ground staff have been working their socks off in very difficult circumstances dealing with the drainage issues, none of us are using it as an excuse and it’s just a case of getting on with it until the end of the season when we can get a chance to make some longer-term repairs.”

Assessing the threat posed by Saturday’s visitors, he added: “London Irish have got international class throughout their squad, they’ve been boosted by Paul Hodgson and Steffon Armitage returning from England and they have quality guys there already.

“John Rudd is someone we all know from his time up here, as is Andy Perry, and they’re both good players that who we will need to watch out for. Everyone is aware of their result at home to Bath last weekend, but we know they will have been worked hard during the week and that they will be keen to make amends up at Kingston Park on Saturday.”

With the Falcons pack outshining the backs on the try front in recent weeks, Tait said: “If the forwards are scoring tries then great, I don’t mind where they come from as long as the team scores them.

“From a backs’ point of view it can be frustrating at times, but it’s down to us to put that right and get our hands on the ball.

“In terms of my own game right now, some aspects I’m pleased with, and some aspects not so at the moment. I didn’t have the greatest game last weekend, especially in the second half, but I feel on the whole that I’m improving as a player. Hopefully I can continue that on Saturday, really bounce back from Northampton and help the boys to get the win.”

Asked his goals for the campaign, he added: “The Heineken Cup is definitely the measure, and that is where we want to be next season.

“The top six of the Guinness Premiership is our goal, and then we have a huge Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff which is another avenue for us coming up in April.”

In terms of his personal development, when questioned on the fact that he qualifies for England, Scotland and Ireland, Tait said: “As a 21-year-old to be playing for a great club like Newcastle week in, week out, I’m really pleased about that.

“I still have plenty of developing to do, but if I just focus on my club form every single week then that’s the best way to go in terms of what eventually might come on the back of that.”


“International rugby is the pinnacle of any players’ career, it’s what we all aspire to and I’m no different. I’d love to play on that stage in the future, but I know that my club form is the most important thing.”

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