Matthew Tait—Birth of a Legend
Recently, I found myself reading an article on Francois Steyn, and his potential when put in his preferable position. This article praised Steyn's future, and complimented his vision and talent, which are undeniable and will be such an asset to future Springbok sides.
I completely agreed with the points the author made about the young South African, and it led me to think—does England have anyone similar to the young South African star?
When I really began considering England's future prospects, I came across one name, which I couldn't remove from my thoughts—Matthew Tait.
The young England centre had a great World Cup Final, thrilling audiences with his dazzling runs that stunned the South Africans. And, he even found himself at one point driving Francois Steyn into the ground (reminiscent of what Gavin Henson did to Tait).
However, Tait didn't regain his position in the England fifteen for the Six Nations, and was used more as a 'super sub'.
It was such an obvious waste of talent, and I found myself extremely annoyed to see him rot on England's bench. And now, Tait is being used as a fullback for his club Newcastle, which I also find annoying.
His talent is undeniable, like the one of Francois Steyns. Yet, also like Francois Steyn, Tait has the burden of being able to be used as a utility back, and he does not have one definite position that the coaches think he is able to play regularly.
To the coaches that think in this way (Brian Ashton being one), Matthew Tait has an obvious preferred position, which he has blossomed in and has shown he can perform on the biggest international stage of all—the outside centre.
After the disappointing loss to the Springboks, one pundit even spoke of Tait as being an obvious future English captain. With so many young talented English players in the Guinness Premiership at the moment, that was a huge compliment to Tait, and showed how good a player he really was.
Now the young Newcastle fullback/centre is moving on to Sale, a club with great title potential. I think this is a great decision for young Tait, as Newcastle was never going to make him reach his maximum. And, with the possibility of a McAllister-Tait centre partnership, Sale would make themselves great title contenders.
With Matthew Tait hopefully making the thirteenth shirt at Sale, we will see him performing in his most rightful position of all—the outside centre. So watch this space, because in a few years time, the young centre could be leading out his country at Twickenham. And, quite rightly so!
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