Alex Tait is backing Newcastle Falcons to channel the spirit of 2009 when they take the field against Worcester Warriors on Sunday.
The 30-year-old started for the Falcons in their 35-3 triumph away to Bristol in February of that year in the battle of the bottom two, the emphatic victory kick-starting a major Newcastle resurgence which saw them climbing comfortably away from the foot of the Premiership table.
With eight games remaining in the current Gallagher Premiership campaign a similar upturn is needed, Tait saying: “I don’t see why we can’t get a win on Sunday and really get the belief flowing.
“I recall us being in a similar situation a few seasons ago when we went down to Bristol in a so-called relegation decider – we absolutely thumped them that day and then went on win our next four games.”
Forming part of the Falcons side which last season achieved their highest Premiership finish in 20 years, Tait said: “Maybe a little bit this season we’ve been low on confidence, we’ve lost a few games that we should have won and we’ve been on the wrong end of some tight scorelines.
“It’s amazing what a win can do for you, and I fully believe we’ll get the win on Sunday.
“The effect that has on our mentality and in terms of generating that momentum, it will really take hold, and it’s not as if we’ve become a bad team. It’s a very similar squad to the one which made three semi-finals last season and finished in the top four, and we can definitely get ourselves out of it.”
Speaking in the week that he was awarded a testimonial season by the Falcons, the man with more than 230 appearances to his name was at pains to stress that his Newcastle career is very much a work in progress.
He said: “It’s a testimonial year, not the end of my career - I want to be very clear about that!
“I’ve still got plenty in the tank, and while the testimonial stuff is great my entire focus is just on playing well for the Falcons every time I take the field.”
Tait added: “I was absolutely delighted that somebody thinks I’m of the importance to be awarded a testimonial year.
“It has weirdly crept up on me because it doesn’t feel like long ago that I was coming here as a junior supporter to watch the likes of Doddie Weir and Gary Armstrong playing for the Falcons, and here I am as a 30-year-old bloke having played 11 seasons for the club. It’s a surreal position, but it’s nice to know that all that toil over the years is being recognised and that we can help some great charities as well.
“It’s quite funny really that my only ever hat-trick for the club in 230-and-odd games was on my debut, but it was fun to come into that environment and for it to remain such a big part of my life for so long. The quality of the game I think is higher than ever before, the sport is in a good place and I’m just privileged to be involved.”
Tickets for Sunday’s Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors game are available by clicking here.