Mathew Tait set for Tigers return
August 6, 2012
Mathew Tait made just two starts for the Tigers in the Aviva Premiership last season © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers hope to have Mathew Tait available for the start of the new A-League season with a return to the full team pencilled in for November.
Tait joined Leicester at the end of the 2010-11 campaign but missed the majority of last season due to a groin injury. With the Tigers opening their A-League campaign against Northampton on September 3, Tait has been inked in for the East Midlands clash but coach Matt O'Connor admits that they will take their time re-introducing Tait to the Tigers' set-up.
"Mat has trained with us during the past couple of weeks and he has looked good," O'Connor told the Leicester Mercury. "We are going to be over-cautious with him because we want to get him to the start line, and we don't want him to be breaking down.
"You would imagine he will feature in those A League games at the start of the season and progress gently. It's a good luxury to have him back. Having him fit around November, when our international blokes go away on Test duty, will be a nice luxury to have."
The Tigers have recruited former Brumbies and Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Pat Phibbs on a short-term deal to cover Ben Youngs' return from injury and O'Connor has backed the 30-year-old to push Sam Harrison and Micky Young for the half-back berth. "I have coached Pat before for four or five seasons Down Under in Canberra," said O'Connor. "He was at Exeter last year on injury cover, so he knows the league well.
"He is a bloke who, due to circumstances, hasn't had a great opportunity to play much rugby. But he will learn our structures quickly and, if required, will do a really good job behind Micky and Sam."
In related news, Tigers back-row Craig Newby is unlikely to make the start of the new season but Jordan Crane should be back in the selection mix.
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