THE Southern Knights have announced the immediate appointment of Alan Tait as defence coach for the 2022/23 season.

A former dual-code rugby player who started his rugby career at his hometown club, Kelso RFC, Tait had a decorated on-field league career playing over 250 first grade games for Widnes and Leeds and representing both Great Britain and Scotland at rugby league.

Switching codes in 1996, he played for Newcastle Falcons where he was part of the 1997 title winning team.

Whilst at the Falcons, Alan was selected for the legendary 1997 Lions Tour, playing in the first two victorious tests Vs South Africa. Alan also represented Scotland 27 times between 1987 and 1999, winning the 1999 Five Nations championship, finishing joint top try scorer for the competition.

Following his retirement from playing, Tait worked with the national team as defence coach before joining the Borders Reivers in 2004 for a similar role.

He later became Head Coach of Newcastle from 2009 to 2012 and most recently has been working with Scottish Rugby within the Scottish Qualified or SQ programme, identifying and recruiting talent across the UK whilst mentoring more established SQ players.

Head Coach Bruce Ruthven said “Alan has a vast amount of experience as a player and coach and we are all looking forward to him sharing his knowledge and expertise with the group. Alan is a very technical coach who will add great value to the coaching team with a strong emphasis on defence.”

Rob Moffat, who is Director of Rugby at Melrose, added: “We are thrilled to have a coach of Alan’s quality join the club. He’s passionate about player development and has a great coaching philosophy that aligns to ours, so we are excited to have him involved and look forward to working with him.”

Alan stated “It’s great to be back involved in coaching and working with the future talent of Scottish Rugby. Defence is a real passion of mine so I’m excited to be working with this talented group of players and coaching group and look forward to the season ahead”.