The 21-year-old Newcastle centre endured a nightmare debut two years ago when Gavin Henson bullied him off the ball and England lost 11-9. Then-coach Andy Robinson saw fit to dump Tait out of the squad – a move that was heavily criticised by Newcastle boss Rob Andrew.

But Tait has shown remarkable resilience in turning in a string of outstanding performances for the Falcons and excelling on the World Sevens circuit. He was brought back into the squad for last summer's ill-feted tour of Australia, and also featured against South Africa in the autumn.

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With Mike Tindall out with a knee infection, Saturday gives Tait a chance of redemption on his first Six Nations start since England's last visit to Cardiff.

Tait said: "I'm a different player now. I've got 60-odd Guinness Premiership games under my belt now which should stand me in good stead. I'm one of the senior players at my club now and feel more comfortable putting across my point of view. Physically I'm always developing and I have confidence in my own ability.

"I'm two years older and two years wiser than the last time I got a Six Nations start, and I'm just looking forward to getting another chance."

Common consensus is that Tait played poorly on his debut, a day before his 19th birthday, an idea encouraged by Robinson's clumsy decision to drop him. Tait, and current England coach Brian Ashton for that matter, take a different view of events that day.

Tait said; "Apart from the two tackles that were well documented I felt I had a pretty reasonable game. It was all fairly hostile and in some ways I was probably a bit naive in terms of the media attention and the atmosphere.

"But the experience makes you a stronger person and taking it forward it has made me a stronger player."

Robinson later admitted he regretted his treatment of Tait and even went as far as apologising to the youngster for the way he handled the situation. Tait holds no grudges, saying: "No-one likes to be dropped but people make those decisions in the best interests of the team. There was no need for Andy to apologise."

Tait returns alongside Mark Cueto at full back, after Ashton opted for the Sale flyer in place of Josh Lewsey as England go looking for an unlikely Championship triumph. Cueto, 27, has scored 13 tries in 18 internationals from the wing but has never played full back at the highest level.

He said: "In the days of Clive Woodward he wanted every player in the backs to be able to play in any position. The game has moved in that direction. On the wing you don't just stand there waiting for the ball, you come off your wing and search for it and it is the same at full back."

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