Tait back in the centre for England
PA Sport
June 9, 2008

Newcastle's Alex Tait makes his first England start of the season against Canada in the IRB Junior World Championships on Tuesday.

The centre was a big-hitting presence in the team at last year's Under 19 World Championships and part of the Under 20 squad before injuries and first team calls from the Falcons intervened.

He began off with a hat-trick of tries in the European Challenge Cup against Spanish side Centransa El Salvador in Valladolid and made six appearances in the Guinness Premiership.

But after a successful start to his top-flight career at Kingston Park, the 20 year old is now looking forward to making an impact at Rodney Parade in Newport (5pm).

England are going in search of a second Pool C victory after running in six tries in a 41-17 win over Fiji last Friday night.

Tait appeared in that game as a second half replacement for full back Noah Cato but moves to inside centre.

"I'm delighted to be starting and excited to get my first start since the World Cup last year," said Tait.

"During the Six Nations I had various injuries and call-ups for the Falcons. I was really pleased to have that chance in the first team and now I'm looking forward to contributing to this tournament.

"I was involved with the first team about 10 times, at full back but mostly at 12 and it was nice to score more tries than my brother!

"Against Canada we need to do the basics well, play simple and precise and use the pace we've got."

England have made a dozen changes in personnel and positions for their second game but still include their Grand Slam winning back-row trio of captain Hugo Ellis (London Wasps), Jon Fisher (London Irish) and Matthew Cox (Worcester Warriors).

Saracens' Noah Cato, who added a try against Fiji to the six he scored in the Six Nations, lines up at full back, while Leicester Tiger Ben Youngs takes over from Wasps' Joe Simpson at scrum half. Leeds Carnegie front-row forward Scott Freer moves from hooker to tight head prop.

For Tait, the Junior World Championship will be followed by a prolonged study period as he catches up on work for his Newcastle University degree course.

"I'm there part-time studying Chemistry and we've got exams taking place during the World Cup," he said.

"I'm being given the chance to sit them in August, so I've got a lot of revision ahead of me"

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