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Aviva Premiership
Cockerill upbeat on Tait signing
ESPNscrum Staff
June 15, 2011
Sale's Mathew Tait claims a high ball, Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, England, January 7, 2011
Mathew Tait could be about to quit Sale for Leicester © Getty Images
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Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill remains confident that Mathew Tait will be plying his trade at Welford Road next season.

Tait agreed terms with Leicester in January and has been training with the Aviva Premiership champions since parting company with Sale Sharks last season. However, there had been speculation that the deal might collapse because of ongoing doubts surrounding the England centre's fitness.

Tait managed just three starts for the Sharks last season because he suffered a dislocated shoulder shortly after recovering from a knee operation. Cockerill, though, believes that the 25-year-old midfield ace will soon be a Leicester player.

"He has been doing his rehab for his shoulder with us," he told BBC Radio Leicester. "We're making sure that's all as it should be and I would say the likelihood is Mat will be a Tigers player next season."

Cockerill is desperate to sign a top-quality centre as Dan Hipkiss has quit the Tigers to link up with Bath. The signing of Tait is seen as a risk by some but the Leicester boss feels the player remains more than capable of fulfilling his enormous potential.

"He's a young man and I think the best is still yet to come from Mat, so we hope that this is in that environment," he said. "For whatever reason, the last 12 to 24 months haven't been the best for him but he's got a lot of experience and he is a very, very good player. We are hoping that all works out but I am pretty sure he will be with us next year."

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