Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait: Rematch Has a Different Complexion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tait: Rematch Has a Different Complexion

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

NEWCASTLE Falcons head coach Alan Tait believes last week's win over Toulon will have little bearing ahead of tomorrow's rematch on the French Riviera.

Tait's troops chiselled out a 6-3 win in atrocious conditions at Kingston Park eight days ago to go three points clear at the top of Pool Two midway through the Amlin Challenge Cup group phase.

The Scot (pictured below) said: "The speed with which they got off the pitch and back into the changing room probably gives you an idea what Toulon thought of the whole thing, and it will definitely be a different game with the crowd and the weather over there.

"They will want to throw the ball around, and they have absolutely nothing to lose. They know that if they want to win the group they need the bonus point against us, and they will chuck it about because four tries will be required."

With one eye already on his side's three Aviva Premiership dates with Sale Sharks, Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs, Tait added: "I think an open game tomorrow is good for us. If it is another arm-wrestle then we run the risk of guys being battered ahead of the league matches that follow.

"Less contact areas will play into our hands as well, and we are a team that wants to play a bit of footy when the time is right with good ball in decent areas."

Tait's Falcons make the trip without injured winger Ryan Shortland, who will be out for three to six weeks with a popped rib cartilage, although last season's top try-scorer Luke Fielden should be back on board after two months out with a shoulder injury.

Rob Vickers is expected to make his return at hooker from the bench, with the head coach stating: "He will likely give us 20 or 30 minutes, and he is one of the leaders of this group.

"Joe Graham and Michael Mayhew have been outstanding recently as starting hookers, and they have come through some sticky early games to really step up now. …

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