Alan Tait

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Alan Tait, see Alan Tait (disambiguation).
Alan Tait
Full name Alan Victor Tait
Date of birth (1964-11-02) 2 November 1964 (age 50)
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 13 st 5 lb (85 kg)
Rugby league career
Position Full-back / Centre
Professional clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
National teams
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Great Britain
Scotland (RL)

Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Centre
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Newcastle Falcons
19 (10)
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British and Irish Lions
Coaching career
Years Club / team
2009-2012 Newcastle Falcons
Rugby union career

Alan Victor Tait (born 2 November 1964) is a Scottish dual-code rugby footballer and coach. He was until January 2012, head coach at Newcastle Falcons[1] and a former rugby league and rugby union footballer who played outside centre for Scotland and the British and Irish Lions. He played club rugby for Kelso and the Newcastle Falcons.

Tait changed codes twice in his life, once going from rugby union to rugby league, and then going the other way after union became professional during the mid-1990s.

Rugby Union[edit]

Unlike many other cross-code converts of the period, Tait had the benefit of growing up in Cumbria, where his father, Alan Senior, was playing for Workington Town.[2] However, Tait played Union first and made his Test debut for Scotland in the inaugural 1987 World Cup held in New Zealand where, he came on as a replacement in a 20-20 draw with France in Christchurch.

Rugby League[edit]

The following year Tait switched codes to rugby league where he was to spend the next eight years playing club rugby for Widnes and Leeds,[3][4] as well as representing Great Britain and Scotland.

During the 1989–90 Rugby Football League season, he played for defending champions Widnes at fullback in their 1989 World Club Challenge victory against the visiting Canberra Raiders. Tait won the Harry Sunderland Trophy in both 1989 and 1990.[5]

In the 1992 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium Tait was selected to play or Great Britain from the reserve bench in their loss to Australia. He also made appearances in the Challenge Cup finals in 1994 and 1995

Return to Union[edit]

With the advent of Rugby Union turning profession Tait along with many other converts switched codes back to union in 1996 signing for the Newcastle Falcons with whom he won the Premiership in 1998, making 19 appearances that season.[6]

At first he was ignored by the Scotland selectors but eventually made his return for Scotland after a nine-year absence in 1997 and went on to represent the British & Irish Lions in South Africa also in the summer of that year. Surprising many Tait was selected to start the first two Tests on the wing, even though his favoured and more recognised position was at centre. This was due to coach Ian McGeechan believing that Tait would add extra defensive capabilities to the backline over the other wingers, in what would be a tight test series. He famously scored a try in the first match as the Lions won 25-16 in Cape Town. He also played in the second match which saw the Lions clinch the series after a dramatic 18-15 victory in Durban. Injured before the 3rd Test he did not play as the Lions lost the final match 35-16.

For Scotland Tait developed a devastating partnership with John Leslie. Many saw their pairing as instrumental in Scotland's good performances of the time and allowing stand-off Gregor Townsend to exploit gaps in the opposition defence. This was no more apparent that in the 1999 Five Nations Championship where townsend would become the fifth and final player in history to score a try against each other country in the five nations tournament. this culminated in Scotland narrowly finished ahead of England on points difference thanks to Wales' last minute victory over England at Wembley. Tait scored two tries in Scotland's final match of the tournament as they put in an historic performance to beat France 36-22. Later that year he represented Scotland for the final time at the 1999 World Cup finishing with a defeat to the All Blacks. He scored a try against South Africa in the pool stages at Murrayfield in a 46-29 reverse to the holders. In 2000 Tait retired from professional rugby finishing his last game playing for his final club Edinburgh Reivers.

In all Tait played 27 times for Scotland scoring 17 tries for his country, this is an exceptional record especially when considering that the bulk of these games were played after his return from League at the age of 32. Partly because of this it is why Tait is still regarding in high esteem by Scotland supporters to this day


Following his retirement from playing he then moved into coaching, initially working with Scotland as a defence coach. Although he was dismissed from the post by Matt Williams he was later restored to that role by Williams successor Frank Hadden.

Tait then moved back to the Falcons as an assistant before assuming the top job at the Premiership club as part of a restructuring process in the wake of Steve Bate's departure from the post of director of rugby in 2009. He held the position of Head Coach of Newcastle from 2009 to 2012 until club owner, Semore Kurdi announced Tait was 'taking a break from rugby' following a series of poor results.


Alan has a son, Michael Tait, who is also a rugby union player and is currently playing for the Edinburgh.


  • Tait, Alan & Lothian, Bill Rugby Rebel: The Alan Tait Story (1998 Mainstream, Edinburgh, ISBN 1-84018-064-1)
  1. ^ Reid, Alasdair (28 May 2008). "Alan Tait signs on to coach at Newcastle". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  2. ^ Hadfield, Dave (2000-04-27). "Tait sceptical as final spectacle crosses border". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Alan Tait (1987/88 - 1991/92)". Widnes RLFC. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Alan Tait". Leeds Rhinos. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Harry Sunderland Award". RL Hall of Fame. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  6. ^ "Allied Dunbar Premiership, 1997/98 / Newcastle Falcons / Player records". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 

External links[edit]