From The Tig’s perspective, the first half of the season seems to have been a bit stop-start. There have been a few injuries, which any team has to cope with, and there are the international periods too.
There won’t be any other teams, though, that suffer those injuries and expect to win regardless. And there won’t be any who lost two key men just as the season started. Julian Salvi has been worth his weight in gold for what he does on the pitch anyway, but when Craig Newby and Ben Woods retired just as the season was getting started, it made him even more valuable to the cause.
Winning at London Welsh was a terrific start. The Welsh were setting first foot in Aviva Premiership waters and were determined to enjoy it. That fixture was a banana skin waiting to happen. But Tigers were prepared and came through unscathed.
Getting off to a winning start was good news after last season, and the defeat at Northampton the year before.
A home win over a dogged Worcester and an away draw with an even-more-dogged Saracens gave Tigers a platform, though Harlequins scored a second consecutive win at Welford Road in Round 4. Still, the foundations were there for a decent start.
Cockers has described the 30-8 win over Exeter as among the best of the season, not least because it eased memories of previous defeat by the Chiefs and stopped any rot setting in after the Quins match.
For The Tig, though, the win at Sale Sharks was as good as anything so far. Tigers dominated another home team celebrating new territory and were never in danger of releasing a stranglehold on the match.
Gloucester was a close-run thing when perhaps Tigers should have won, especially with the home team down by two men at one stage, but smiles returned with a home wn over Saints with both sides playing light-handed due to England calls.
A two-point defeat at Wasps was hard to take, though not as hard as defeat by a poorer home side on the trip to Adams Park last season, but then Bath were banished and all was right with the world.
A four-try win at London Irish for a second year in a row brought us to halfway, third in the table, alongside Quins, Saracens, Saints and a rising Gloucester. It’s where we would want to be, but there’s definitely more to come. It would be great if it started at Welford Road in Round 12!