Mum's the word as the Tait brothers go head to head

The prospect of watching her sons in direct opposition fills Julie Tait with so much dread that she is likely to sidestep today's match between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks.

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MANCHESTER // The prospect of watching her sons in direct opposition fills Julie Tait with so much dread that she is likely to sidestep today's match between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks. It was the same last year when Mathew's Sale side emerged victorious at Kingston Park against the Falcons, for whom younger brother Alex plays at fullback. Mathew, the England international who spent four years with the Falcons before moving to Manchester in 2008, says it will be a flashback to their youth.

"Growing up as kids, I whacked lumps out of him and now I get to do it on the pitch," joked Mathew, who, at 22, is the elder by two years. "But really, it's a bit strange coming up against Alex. You can't really say what you will do until it happens. Last year was the first time we had played against each other and mum didn't come to the game because she couldn't bear to watch. I don't think she's coming this year either.

"I spoke to Alex the other night and he wasn't giving anything away, but there will be a bit of friendly rivalry and banter. I hope he has a good season, but maybe not play so well on Sunday. I want to win." Sale got off to an ideal start last week with a thrilling success against the champions Leicester. Director of rugby Kingsley Jones now wants a winning run, saying thatthere was no point celebrating an early success and then losing the next two or three games.

Tait, who will start at outside centre, agrees. He added: "That was a great win for us, but it was only one game. We showed dogged determination to keep Leicester out and we will need the same at Newcastle. Our win last year was the first time there and we are under no illusions it will be a tough game. We need to build on the Leicester result." akhan@thenational.ae