I'll repay Leicester Tigers for sticking by me, vows Mathew Tait
Fit-again Mathew Tait is desperate to repay Leicester Tigers for sticking by him through his 13-month injury nightmare.
The 26-year-old back made his first start for more than a year in Tuesday's memorable 32-24 win against the Maori All Blacks.
It was the first time he had completed a full 80 minutes since October 1 last year, and only his second in almost three years.
Tait and Leicester will be hoping that the groin injury which kept him sidelined is now a thing of the past, and that the man with 38 England caps can continue working to get back to his best against London Irish in the LV= Cup on Sunday.
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Tait admits there is still some way to go in terms of sharpness and match-fitness, but he is excited about getting back on the pitch in Leicester colours.
"At some stage in this sport, you are going to be injured, and it was just unfortunate for me that I have had my shoulder and groin injuries back-to-back," he said.
"The problem with my groin was that the injury was unlike anything I have ever had before, and it never had a definitive recovery period.
"It has been very frustrating, but the club have been fantastic supporting me through it.
"I want to repay them for sticking by me. I am still only 26 and, hopefully, have a few more years left in me.
"It was good to get back out there and the body is all right, touch wood, apart from a bit of cramp in my calves in the last 10 minutes.
"It was nice to get the landmark of playing 80 minutes, which was important to me.
"Some areas of my game need improving and were far from perfect, but that will come from playing more games.
"Hopefully, I will get a chance to improve during the next few weeks.
"With the squad we have got here at Leicester, it is all about getting involved because that is hard enough in itself.
"Hopefully, I can play against London Irish and then put myself in the frame for selection against Wasps in the Premiership the following week."
Tigers return to the LV= Cup by hosting London Irish at Welford Road on Sunday, hoping to bounce back from Friday's 38-21 defeat by Saracens.