Alex Tait played his 100th game for Newcastle Falcons this weekend at Jersey and while the Falcons continue to take big strides towards a return to the Aviva Premiership, their players are making equally as significant progress away from rugby. A large proportion of the squad are now actively engaged in The RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) Player Development Programme as they look to prepare for the future and life after rugby.
The RPA Player Development Programme encourages players to put their free time to productive use in preparation for when they finally hang up their boots. The programme encourages players to gain some useful qualifications, trades or work experience alongside their rugby career.
It’s not just players approaching the twilight of their career who are thinking towards the future; younger members of the squad are also looking at ways to bolster their CV’s. Full-back Tait is one of those players. He made his debut for the Falcons aged 19 and like many youngsters believed rugby would be his career.
When he made his debut for the first team he was in the first year of a chemistry degree at Newcastle University, but when things started to go well he took the decision to postpone his studies and focus on rugby full-time.
“When I first started playing I just wanted to be the best player I could be that’s the main reason why I put off studying. I finished my first year and decided I wanted to concentrate on developing my rugby so decided to defer, but to be honest I had a lot of spare time that was filled with DVD’s or games on the Playstation that could instead have been used to study.
“I think a lot of it is realising that you do have to support yourself after rugby and it’s important to have some kind of plan in place to help you do that.