Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tait's Happy to Fly the Flag for the Local Talent; on the Eve of Newcastle Falcons' Big Kick-Off, Alex Tait Is Determined to Keep North East Represented

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tait's Happy to Fly the Flag for the Local Talent; on the Eve of Newcastle Falcons' Big Kick-Off, Alex Tait Is Determined to Keep North East Represented

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith @markismith50 www.facebook.com/chroniclerugby

IN an era of imported labour where players are pulled in from all corners of the globe, Alex Tait aims to keep a homegrown thread running through Newcastle Falcons.

The Co Durham native has known nothing but the North East in a professional career entering its seventh season, even if a calf injury makes him a doubt to line up against Leicester on Saturday.

"Nobody minds foreigners being here if they are quality, and we have got some good ones this year to really get people excited," said Tait, Newcastle's 10 summer signings consisting of three Samoans, a Tongan, an Argentinian, an American, a Kiwi and an Aussie-born Italian. "I suppose I am a bit of an elder statesman now even at the age of 26, but it is good to have some local boys in there as well.

"Mark Wilson came through our academy and has just signed a new deal, which is great, and he does an awesome job for us.

"Guys like him, myself and a few others can maybe relate a little bit to the area and the supporters, and communicate that to the guys coming in from elsewhere."

Bracketed by the bookies for another relegation battle and with little external expectation of much more, Tait insisted: "We want to do a lot better than last year, where we only just stayed up.

"Our goal was to survive, but we weren't happy about the way in which we did that.

"This year it will be tougher, and the first few games will give us an idea where we are.

"At home, particularly, we want to improve, and make Kingston Park a dif-ficult place to play.

"The fact we didn't do that last year was one of the most disappointing things for us, and we just want to be a tough team who can compete and score tries."

A plastic pitch should go some way towards that, the former Barnard Castle schoolboy firm in his belief they can reap the rewards of their improved footing.

"During the season the new pitch is going to have a massive impact, based on what Saracens have shown," said Tait, the London club having become the first top-flight side to abandon grass when they moved into their Allianz Park home two years ago. …

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