Tait admits French lure
Sale full-back Mathew Tait believes playing club rugby in France is a 'brilliant experience' for all English players.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 19/08/09 7:58pm
Sale full-back Mathew Tait believes the opportunity to play club rugby in France is a "brilliant experience" for all English players.
A total of 15 British players from last season's Guinness Premiership have joined Top 14 club's in the summer, the most high-profile of those being Jonny Wilkinson's move to big-spending Toulon.
Reports in France claim the former England fly-half will earn in the region of £650,000-a-year, a salary which is made possible with the French clubs not restricted by the salary cap the Premiership sides have to work within.
Despite the obvious financial benefits playing rugby in France will bring, Tait believes the glamour of playing for clubs such as Stade Francais is the greater achievement.
Speaking exclusively to skysports.com, Tait said: "I don't think the money is the only motivation for the English players who have moved.
"There is obviously no salary cap over there which is a luxury the French clubs are afforded compared with the England clubs.
"The opportunity to play for big clubs like Stade Francais and Toulon, to be down in places like Paris and on the sunny Med and places like that, the lifestyle, rugby, obviously money is a factor, I think it is a brilliant experience for the guys who have made the switch."
Despite losing Scotland internationals Rory Lamont and Jason White to Toulon and Clermont-Auvergne respectively, Sale have managed to lure Ben Cohen back to English shores from Brive.
The powerful wing will team up with in-form England international Mark Cueto at Edgeley Park this season, and Tait is hoping his arrival will inspire the Sharks towards a successful campaign.
"Ben is vastly experienced and he has scored a shed-load of tries for England when he was involved in that. I know he is back over and he is hungry to be back and performing in the Premiership," he said.
"We've been in pre-season for three or four weeks now working hard and it's one of those now where everyone wants to just play a game. I've not played in a pre-season game yet so I'm looking forward to building into the first game against Leicester.
"It's always nice to play against the best team, Leicester were that last year so it is going to be a challenge for us to try and start our season off with a win. Fingers crossed it will go alright."
Sale missed out on a play-off place by just one-point last season, victories for London Irish, Bath and Harlequins on the final day meaning their success over Northampton was immaterial.
And Tait, 23, is hoping the final day agony, combined with the arrival of a number of new players, will serve as extra motivation during the new season.
He said: "It was massively disappointing last season, we have a bit of a disappointing period through the middle of the season so we need to pick up a few more points there and finish strongly like we did last year.
"Losing guys like Juan Fernandez Lobbe who was brilliant for us last year is a loss but the guys that have come in, Sisse (Sisaro Kayamaibole) and Mo (Mahonri Schwalger) and those guys have trained really well so far and I think they are looking forward to getting a run out with the boys.
"We have to go into every game with the aim of winning it. Winning cups games builds a buzz around the club and things like that, confidence grows and that can only be good for the Heineken Cup and league as well.
"I'm sure every team will be trying to do that as well this year."