Tait’s Bayonne move in doubt

Date published: May 20 2015

Mathew Tait may end up staying with Leicester Tigers with confusion hanging over his move to Top 14 side Bayonne.

The French side's proposed merger with Biarritz is currently off but future talks haven't been ruled out, with any merger likely to have major ramifications for the new side's playing squad.

Money woes for Bayonne are also a factor, meaning that Tait's move may not happen at all.

"I think that's far from getting to a conclusion yet with Bayonne," Leicester boss Richard Cockerill told the Press Association.

"There's a possibility that he may well stay [with Leicester]. It's a wait-and-see but it's not a dead duck."

Cockerill had plenty of praise for Tait's contribution this season as a player and leader, while also noting that her versatility might make him a good candidate for England.

"If there's an opportunity to keep him here we would pursue that," added Cockerill.

"Taity's been very good for us, he's a good leader, he's got a lot of experience and he's stayed fit and been pretty robust.

"We had similar issues with Niki Goneva with Castres last year, who signed a contract there but eventually stayed: to all intents and purposes Niki is still contracted to Castres, but he hasn't played for them yet!

"I think certainly in hindsight I probably should have played Taity at 13 a bit earlier this year. But we're all smart with hindsight.

"In the end with injuries we were that stuck for ideas that we just thought 'why not put the bloke that's played 30-odd Test matches there, that might be an idea'.

"It was needs-must to a point, but he's been very good there. He's been good at 13, it's helped us. He dealt with Elliot Daly really well against Wasps, his pace, and we'll need that this weekend with Joseph.

"So Tait could be an option for England. With no (Manu) Tuilagi at 13, after Joseph Tait's probably not dissimilar.

"Don't forget Taity's got 38 Test matches, he's not been in and out of that side, he's played a lot of rugby in that side.

"So I wouldn't say he's the first name on the team sheet but if England need a 13 or a utility back that can play 13, wing or full-back then he is an option."