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A sign of things to come

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The Tig would never dream of offering Cockers advice on team selection - or any other subject for that matter - but last weekend I'll admit to a few strangled shots of "Get him off".

The final pre-season fixture against Nottingham provided Tigers with a chance to get more game-time into senior players, most notably the internationals who had returned to the squad late in the summer, as well as put the finishing touches to team shape and patterns on the field.

At one point towards the end of the first half, and at least once later on, The Tig uttered those words of, er, let’s call it encouragement rather than advice.

And it had nothing to do with a player looking off the pace in front of a Bank Holiday crowd.

From The Tig’s vantage point it seemed Manu Tuilagi had a hand in every Tigers score of the day. He carried, he charged, he tackled, he passed, he offloaded. He was at the centre of just about everything that looked good on the day.

There was no let-up, either, as the game wore on, which was brilliant to see in a player who has only been back in training for the last few weeks and, let’s face it, is not exactly light on his feet.

The Tig loved every minute of it, drooling at the prospect of Manu right on song and in tune with his team-mates.

He looked fresh and eager, like he was absolutely loving being back on the field in a Tigers shirt.

After a summer spent playing touch rugby back at the family home in Samoa, and probably holding a bit back from contact sessions with team-mates preparing for a long season ahead, it just looked like Manu was making the most of being able to go out, run around and play again.

The word of caution – and the very quiet “Get him off” – was merely The Tig wanting to see some of the danger kept in the bag befoe being let loose on Aviva Premiership defences, starting in Round One. It looks like he’s ready.