ALAN Tait has revealed how Newcastle Falcons are flying into the new Aviva Premiership season, fuelled by the doubters who have already written them off as relegation fodder.
Tait was angered by TV coverage of his side’s victory in last Friday’s JP Morgan Premiership Sevens, with hosts Sale Sharks receiving the bulk of the praise despite the Falcons being the overall victors on the night.
“They always write us off, and it never changes,” said the famously straight-talking Scot, who believes his side are poised to bounce back after clinging on to their top-flight status by points difference alone.
“It constantly amazes me, and we never seem to get any respect off anybody. For example, I was sat watching us win the northern leg of the Premiership Sevens last Friday night, when we had sent a young team down to Stockport.
“The TV pundits, because they know the names of Mark Wilson, Will Welch and a few others, made out as if we were some vastly experienced side – but they are just young lads.
“After the tournament I listened to what the commentators and the pundits had to say, and you would have thought Sale Sharks had won the competition – not us.
“They were bigging up Sale as if they were the team to beat, even though we had just won against them, and it seems to be a never-ending cycle of people always thinking the worst of us.”
His comments coming almost straight from the pages of an Alex Ferguson siege-mentality textbook, the head coach added: “Given that fact, there are two ways you can choose to react. You can either completely ignore it, or you can use it as motivation for the season ahead.
“We have spoken about it as a squad, and we are definitely going to be fuelled by all these negative comments people are making about us.
“We know we are in a relative rugby outpost, but that just makes us want to do it more.
“Teams don’t respect us. That’s a fact. They don’t rate us, and more fool them, really, because we are going to prove them wrong.”
A talent drain which has seen Kieran Brookes and Micky Young as the latest stars to leave for the perceived greener pastures of Leicester Tigers has done little to dissuade the external view that Newcastle will once again be rattling around the lower reaches of the league.
But Tait insists that a revitalised back-room and a host of promising youngsters hold the key to future prosperity.
“This current bunch of players are going out there and telling their mates in the rugby fraternity how much they are enjoying life at Newcastle,” he said.
“We have got a lot of great young kids coming in, and the word is slowly spreading again that the Falcons is a club worth being at.
“We have moved forward here behind the scenes, and we are not going to stop. The main thing now is showing it out on the field, and when that happens the pieces will continue falling into place.”
Meanwhile, Darlington Mowden Park pair Katy McLean and Tamara Taylor have been named in the England Women’s team for Tuesday’s match against the USA.
McLean once again skippers the side with Taylor lining up in the second row, as the Ontario clash forms the first of England’s three group games in the Nations Cup.
They then take on South Africa next Friday and Canada on Tuesday, before the finals take place on Saturday August 13.
Closer to home, Saturday sees the final stage of the Northumberland 7s Series, following previous events at North Shields and Consett. The action gets under way from 12.30pm at Ponteland RFC, with free entry for all supporters as well as live music and a beer tent.