Tait extends Newcastle deal
England ace sees bright future in the North East
Last Updated: February 28, 2008 9:58am
Tait: New deal
England back Mathew Tait has signed a new one-year contract at Newcastle Falcons.
The 22-year-old has been out of Brian Ashton's starting line-up so far during the Six Nations, but he believes staying at Kingston Park will enable him to win back his international place.
Tait, who is tied to the Falcons until the summer of 2009, said: "It is always a big decision when contracts come up for renewal, but I'm delighted to have agreed a new deal and look forward to helping the Falcons fulfil their ambitions.
"Newcastle is a fantastic club with a massive amount of quality, and under John Fletcher there are exciting times ahead.
"We play a fast brand of attacking rugby, and as a player it's great fun to be part of as well as being a very challenging style of play.
"It is a great environment to be in with a focus on learning and improving every single day in training, and that was a major factor in my decision."
Tait, who can play at centre, wing or full-back, first hit the headlines when he was named in England's starting line-up for the opening Six Nations clash against Wales in 2005.
Only Newcastle team-mate Jonny Wilkinson played for England at a younger age, but his dream debut turned into a nightmare as his lack of strength was brutally exposed by Gavin Henson and he was replaced.
He was then dropped by coach Andy Robinson but impressed in the England Sevens side and earned a recall to the full side for the World Cup in France.
Tait's performances, particularly in the final defeat by South Africa, seemed to have marked him out for a big future with the national team but he again found himself out of the 22 for this season's Six Nations opener against Wales.
However, following the Twickenham defeat, coach Brian Ashton brought him back into the squad for the wins over Italy and France.
Tait's deal follows fly-half Wilkinson's decision to commit his future to the Falcons last month, and director of rugby Fletcher feels the club is heading in the right direction.
"Mathew is among the most gifted young players in the world, and the fact that he sees his future at Newcastle Falcons is further endorsement of what we are doing here and the level of ambition currently at the club," he said.
"It is no secret that a number of other top teams were keen on signing Mathew, but he is a vital part of our jigsaw and is fully buying in to what we are doing here at the moment.
"Coming on the back of Jonny Wilkinson pledging his future to the Falcons and the arrival of world-class talent like Carl Hayman, this is a club where the top players want to be, and Mathew is no exception."
Tait made his debut for the Falcons at the age of 18 and has scored 23 tries in 73 starts.