Tait family adding value

England World Cup star Mathew Tait led the acclaim for his younger brother Alex after Newcastle opened their European Challenge Cup campaign with a crushing victory over Spanish minnows Cetransa El Salvador.

The 19-year-old marked his full Falcons debut by scoring three tries in a 71-10 success.

And Tait senior said: “I am really chuffed for Alex, because he has worked hard and he deserves it.

“If he keeps progressing like he has been, then he has a great future ahead of him.

“The last time we started a game together was for Consett Under-Eights, so it has been a long time coming.

“We used to be very competitive when we were younger, but I think that has kind of changed now a bit to being supportive of each other, so it is great to see Alex making that step up to first team level and doing himself proud.”

Tait partnered his brother in midfield for much of the game, moving from full-back after England centre Jamie Noon went off nursing a bump to his head.

And Falcons boss John Fletcher said: “Alex did well, but that came as no surprise to us because he is a good player.

“He hasn’t just burst on to the scene, he has been progressing gradually in our academy for a number of years, but we’ve just been developing him at his own pace.

“He has played for England at every age group, and he is a real running threat.

“He offloads, he tackles, he breaks defensive lines, and with experience he will become much better.

“Some of his decision-making at crucial times needs a bit of work, but he is young and that will come with games.”

Wing Ollie Phillips matched Tait’s hat-trick achievement, and there were also touchdowns for the elder Tait, Tim Visser, Jon Golding, Brent Wilson and Lee Dickson.

While Newcastle lapped up the Spanish sunshine, Worcester found it tough going in appalling conditions against Romanian hosts Bucuresti.

Skipper Pat Sanderson’s try edged the Warriors to an 18-8 success following an earlier Marcel Garvey touchdown, setting them up for next Saturday’s Sixways appointment with Montauban.

Worcester assistant coach Clive Griffiths said: “We are pleased with the result because of the conditions.

“It was freezing and the pitch was waterlogged, so it was a case of getting the job done and getting out of there.

“Although Bucuresti never really tested us, we had to ensure we kept going for the full 80 minutes, and I thought we acquitted ourselves outstandingly well in difficult circumstances.”

Springboks World Cup winner Butch James made a try-scoring debut for Bath as they overcame Auch 28-6 at Stade Patrice Brocas.

James, who only linked up with the west country club early last week, also set up a try for flanker Andy Beattie with a pinpoint cross-kick that caught Auch defenders napping.

Olly Barkley chipped in with 13 points, and there was a penalty try as Bath made an early statement of their quarter-final ambitions.

 

365 Digital

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