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Tait honoured for contribution to rugby

Mathew Tait is this year’s recipient of the Special Merit Award from the Rugby Players’ Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the game in England. 

The 33-year-old former Leicester Tigers full-back will be presented with the award at the RPA Players' Awards at Twickenham Stadium on May 8. 

Tait announced his retirement from professional rugby last month after 15 years in the game and will join a distinguished list of former winners including Jason Leonard, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Robinson and Will Greenwood. 

After bursting on to the international scene at the age of 18, Tait won 38 Test caps, including the World Cup Final in 2007, as well as winning a silver medal with the England Sevens team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

After spells with Newcastle and Sale, Tait made 143 appearances for the Tigers, winning the Premiership title in 2013.

During his final season, Mathew served on the RPA Players' Board as Leicester's elected representative. 

"I am truly humbled and privileged to receive this award and would like to thank the RPA Players' Board for this incredible honour,” Tait said.

“I have been extremely lucky to have enjoyed a career at three great clubs, represented my country and made so many amazing memories which I can take with me into my retirement and my next chapter." 

RPA group chief executive Damian Hopley said: "Mat has been one of the outstanding professionals in our sport for the last 15 years and it is testament to his incredible commitment and dedication that he has made such a positive impact on the game.

“As one of the most talented outside-backs of his generation and regarded as an excellent role model off the pitch, it's an enormous honour for the Players' Board to pay tribute to his exceptional career with the 2019 Special Merit Award."

The RPA Players' Awards take place on Wednesday, May 8 at Twickenham Stadium. To book one of the last remaining places, phone 020 3053 6670 or email [email protected]