Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait Pushes for Law to Be Enforced; AVIVA PREMIERSHIP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait Pushes for Law to Be Enforced; AVIVA PREMIERSHIP

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

ALAN Tait has urged referee Dean Richards to police the letter of the law this afternoon in Devon as Newcastle Falcons travel to face Exeter Chiefs.

The head coach cut a frustrated figure last weekend as continued midfield offside went unpunished in the Falcons' 22-9 home loss to Bath, and he expects Exeter to be a similar nuisance in and around the breakdown at Sandy Park.

"Exeter stopped Leicester doing anything last week, and they are masters at it," said Tait, having watched the Chiefs claim a memorable 30-28 victory at Welford Road on the Aviva Premiership's opening day.

"I can imagine that the Tigers' coach, Richard Cockerill, would have been on the phone to the referees' boss a fair bit this week. I say that simply because Exeter get away with so much around that ruck area, and they caused mayhem.

"Fair play to them - they keep getting away with it so they keep doing it - and who can blame them?" The Scot added: "Referees have got to enforce the laws, but if teams can get offside, scrag the scrum-half and all the rest of it, then they will keep doing it until they get penalised.

"You know what Exeter bring to a game, and they are very, very physical. We are going to have to be streetwise in and match up to them."

Despite his criticism of Exeter's niggling tactics, the head coach remains a huge admirer of how the Devon side have adapted to life in the top flight after their promotion a year ago. Tait has made two changes to his starting XV for the 3pm kick-off with Tim Swinson in at lock for Andrew van der Heijden (rib) and James Fitzpatrick replacing centre Jamie Helleur (hamstring).

One man retaining his place in the line-up after impressing on debut is Richard Mayhew, and the Kiwi No 8 is expecting a bruising encounter against a Chiefs side renowned for their abrasive running.

He said: "They have a big group of forwards and a crowd who get behind them, so we are excited about the opportunity of going down there to give it a crack.

"We have identified their big ball carriers, and if we don't front-up against them then they will run over the top of us all afternoon. …

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