Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defiant Tait Is Not One to Stay Down

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defiant Tait Is Not One to Stay Down

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

BACK on his feet after a standing eight count, Newcastle Falcons boss Alan Tait insists last weekend's loss to Leeds was by no means a knock-out blow to his side's survival prospects.

Now one point adrift at the bottom of the Premiership and with Northampton the visitors to Kingston Park tonight, Tait said: "These are the times when you find out what you are made of.

"I was down on the canvas Saturday night and all day Sunday, but you've just got to get up and keep fighting.

"We have come in with a positive mindset this week right from the very first session on Monday morning, and the players have been professional in looking at where they went wrong and how they can rectify it."

With four games left and tight margins between themselves and the top-flight safety they crave, even a losing bonus point tonight would be enough to haul the Falcons away from the drop spot - for the time being at least.

"People forget that last year our Premiership place wasn't sorted until the penultimate game of the season, and like last time we know we've got a battle on our hands to secure that safety," said Tait, whose side play host to the in-form Saints after last weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Ulster.

"All of our players have watched that game, and I hope they were excited by it because the standard was basically the same as an international match.

"Northampton's pace, line-speed and attack was what you would expect from a top international side, but they will be up against a very determined Newcastle team tonight.

"Sometimes after a huge game like that it is hard to get up mentally again, but we have to lift our own game in response to what the Saints will throw at us."

Northampton have kept faith the same personnel from their European triumph, barring the inclusion of Barnard Castle old boy Calum Clark in the back row, with the enticing prospect of England tyros Chris Ashton and Ben Foden set to swell the home crowd.

Ex-Falcons Phil Dowson and Lee Dickson line up against their old club, but the presence of former Saint Euan Murray in the Newcastle side will mean no stone being left unturned in their preparation for the televised clash. …

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