FORMER Scotland rugby international David Tait has died after he apparently fell from an apartment block in Hong Kong.
Tributes were paid to the former Sale Sharks player yesterday, with his family saying in a brief statement that they were “devastated” by the death.
Tait, a Scotland Sevens cap, was a corporate finance manager for multinational firm KPMG in Hong Kong and played rugby for Abacus Kowloon where he was first XV captain.
It is the second tragedy to hit the family after his father Campbell Tait, a barrister and judge, was found hanged in the garage of the family home in Sale in 2004.
The back-row forward played for Scotland at the 2009 Dubai Sevens, but his rugby career was cut short by injuries.
Former Scotland Sevens head coach Stephen Gemmell, an ex-team mate, was among those who paid tribute to the 25-year-old yesterday.
Gemmell, now head of performance development with Scottish Rugby, said: “David was a pleasure to work with and had a bright future ahead of him, both within and out with the game. The thoughts of all at Scottish Rugby are with David’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”
Since leaving Sale Sharks two years ago Tait had lived in Hong Kong and in 2011 and earlier this year was part of the Hong Kong Scottish team that turned out at the Melrose Sevens.
Former Watsonians player Mike McKee was in those squads with him and told The Scotsman: “He was a wonderfully gifted player and even more respected and loved bloke.”
As the news of Tait’s death filtered through to the rugby community yesterday many players and clubs took to social networking sites to pass on their condolences.
Sale Sharks stand-off and England cap Danny Cipriani who tweeted: “Horrible news about David Tait, he was a legend of a bloke and very talented.”
Former Sale and England captain Jason Robinson tweeted: “Holding back the tears thinking about the loss of David Tait. Lovely young man who will be greatly missed. ”
Tait’s death is also the second in a year to rock Sale Sharks.
Selorm Kuadey, who was the same age as Tait and his contemporary at the club, died in an apparent suicide last January.Educated at Sale Grammar and Manchester University Tait was with Sale Sharks in their Academy from a young age. He made his debut for the first team in 2005-06.
He then played for them until 2010 and turned out in various competitions, including the Heineken Cup and the Guinness Premiership, making 40 appearances.
In his early years at Sale his form led him to be selected for the England under-20 training squad, but he never earned a cap.
He was then involved in the extended England squad for the IRB Sevens World Series in 2008-09, but after he was not called upon Scotland were alerted to his eligibility.
In summer 2009 he began training with the Scotland Sevens squad and took part in the pre-season camps in Delhi and France. He was one of six new caps named in the squad for the 2009-10 season opening events in Dubai and South Africa.
Rugby Players’ Association chief executive Damian Hopley said: “The rugby community will be shattered by the passing of such a gifted and popular young man who was respected by everyone he played alongside.”