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Mat Tait: Top-four destiny still in Leicester Tigers’ hands

Mathew Tait

Leicester Tigers centre Mat Tait knows all about the threats Newcastle Falcons will pose when they visit Welford Road in Round 20 of Aviva Premiership Rugby this weekend, having made more than 50 starts for his hometown club.

Tigers gained a valuable bonus point in their 26-21 defeat to Bath Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, which kept them above Bath and inside the top four as they continue the hunt for an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final spot.

And Tait could line-up against younger brother Alex, who has impressed for Falcons at full-back this season, as Tigers bid to make their first Aviva Premiership Rugby Final since 2013.

But the England back, who has won 38 caps for his country, is wary of the Falcons’ weapons after Tigers scraped past the Kingston Park outfit 14-13 in Round Three.

“It is always quite a strange one playing against Falcons, obviously I started my career there and my brother is still up there,” said Tait.

“My parents still live up there, I have a lot of good memories from my time there. But when the game is on I am fully concentrating on what is best for Leicester.

“Falcons are a good team with some dangerous individuals; guys like Niki Goneva, so they are going to be a dangerous side and we have to respect that but we have to try and put them to the sword.”

As well as returning ex-Tiger Vereniki Goneva, Tait praised the resolve and abrasive nature of the Falcons side that has won eight Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this term.

And he believes his side have to be on their mettle in defence given the onus Newcastle put on beating the first man.

“They have a good pack up there now, Dean Richards is building a really good squad. They have dangerous guys, I know they focus a lot that ability to beat player one on one,” said Tait.

“Sinoti Sinoti, Juan Pablo Socino and Joel Hodgson have done really well for them this year as well.

“They have an abrasive pack and dangerous players so we need to make sure we are on our game defensively and making our tackles.

“The good thing from our point of view is that we got a bonus point (against Bath Rugby) and we are still fourth so we have our destiny in our own hands.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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