The Herald - Herald Sport

Knights make Tait loan move permanent

- David Barnes

FORMER Scotland Under-20s captain and Glasgow Warriors Academy member Rhys Tait has signed for English Championsh­ip (second tier) side Doncaster Knights, having impressed on loan to the South Yorkshire outfit during the last few months of last season.

Originally from Hawick, Tait was assigned to Boroughmui­r Bears Super Series side during his time as a stage three member of the Scottish Rugby Academy. He’s the second promising back-rower from the Borders to leave the academy set-up in recent months, following the release of Rudi Brown by Edinburgh at the start of April.

“We’re delighted that Rhys has come on board with us for next year,” said Doncaster head coach Steve Boden. “Obviously, we got a good look at what he can do last year with him coming on loan at the back end of the season.

“He’s a young man with a lot of aspiration and ambition. He’s very comfortabl­e on the ball and has got a very good skill-set, and he’s hungry to try to kick-on his rugby career.

“So, we think he’s going to add some great competitio­n within our environmen­t, and we’re looking to see him grow in a Doncaster shirt.”

Tait, who led Scotland Under-20s during the 2022 Six Nations campaign, scored a brace of tries on his Knights debut against Bedford Blues in February, and helped the team to theri sixth-place finish in the Championsh­ip.

“I was welcomed into the squad straight away by all the players and coaches, and I really enjoyed the tight knit group atmosphere in training and games,” said Tait. “So, I’m delighted to have signed for the Knights for next season.”

Tait’s departure from the Scottish set-up is bound to raise more questions about whether Scottish rugby’s developmen­t pathways are functionin­g as effectivel­y as they should be for homegrown talent.

Glasgow Warriors have some serious competitio­n in the back-row. Matt Fagerson, Jack Dempsey and Rory

Darge are key Scotland squad members, Tongan cap Sione Vailanu was a big hit this season, Tom Gordon has been a reliable option at openside since 2018, Ally Miller has struggled for game-time since making the switch west from Edinburgh in 2021, while youngsters Gregor Brown and Euan Ferrie are well on their way to establishi­ng themselves in the squad.

However, they have also signed South African journeyman Henco Venter for next season, which is arguably a position which could have gone to Tait.

At least Tait will be able to play regularly in a competitiv­e league and could return to Scotland as a more experience­d and rounded player in a few years’ time – but some will question whether that should be achieved internally by the Super6/Series competitio­n, which was created four years ago to bridge the gap between the amateur and profession­al games.

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