Alex Tait might be enjoying a new lease of life at Kingston Park, but the Newcastle Falcons full-back is also making big strides away from rugby.
Tait, 25, has resumed his Chemistry degree at Newcastle University five years on from postponing his studies when the former Barnard Castle pupil signed a pro deal with the Premiership outfit.
The in-from academy product is one of a number of players at the club engaged in The RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) Player Development Programme as they look to prepare for the future and life after rugby.
“When I first started playing I just wanted to be the best player I could be and that’s the main reason why I put off studying,” said Tait, who put pen-to-paper on a new two year contract last term.
“I finished my first year and decided that I wanted to concentrate on developing my rugby so decided to defer, but to be honest I had a lot of spare time that was filled with DVD’s or games on the Playstation that could have instead have been used to study.
“I think a lot of it is realising that you do have to support yourself after rugby and it’s important to have some kind of plan in place to help you do that,” he added.
Tait has been in fine fettle of late with the Falcons picking up two bonus-points in as many weeks against Harlequins and Northampton Saints respectively.
Last weekend he and the rest of Dean Richards’ charges turned around a 19-6 half-time deficit to salvage a point against Saints at Kingston Park. Noah Cato’s try three minutes from time made the difference as Newcastle edged 12 points clear of basement side Worcester Warriors.
“It is hard to put your finger on why a first half like that can happen, because we had worked on things during the week and we knew what to do,” explained Tait.
“It is just an attitude thing, and for some reason the mind-set just didn’t seem to be right going into that first half.
“Perhaps it was because we had the wind behind us and we sub-consciously took our foot off the pedal.
“I guess that could be human nature, but you have got to front-up in both halves in a league as tough as this.
“We did that in the second half, and it leaves you wondering that would happen if we managed to do it for the full 80 minutes.”
The Falcons welcome reigning Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers to Kingston Park this Sunday (kick-off 2pm). Tickets are still available by calling 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.