Alex Gray exit leaves sense of betrayal - Alan Tait

Alex Gray
Gray signed a two-year deal at Irish on Tuesday

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait has admitted to feeling a sense of betrayal after England Under-20 captain Alex Gray's move to London Irish.

The 20-year-old back-row forward is the latest in a series of young prospects developed by the club to depart Kingston Park.

"We put in a lot of time and effort bringing the kids through and look for loyalty," Tait told BBC Newcastle.

"But agents have bigger and better things for them, or so they tell them."

Asked if the club felt betrayed by the departure of Gray, and the likes of Kieran Brookes and Micky Young who both moved to Leicester Tigers after coming through the Falcons' academy, Tait replied: "Definitely."

He explained: "It's well documented, and the Rugby Football Union know fully about it as well, they're right behind us."

Tait also questioned whether the switch was a wise move for Gray, who as well as making 13 appearances for the Falcons and scoring a try on his Premiership debut captained England to Grand Slams at Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 level.

"Young players know what they get at Newcastle, great exposure, plenty of first team rugby - if they get that at 'big' clubs we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

But Tait insisted he was confident the Falcons had already developed potential replacements.

"I've got some good young lads, and I've found a boy in Joe Robinson who is doing all the things Alex was doing a few years ago in the same sort of times - he is a bit younger, but he has a bit more time.

"It was unfortunate everything broke down the way it did, but the club has to move forward and I'm happy with the youngsters and the progress they are making."