There have been many ups and downs already. As expectation is so high, it is probably a year we can remember more of the downs (Saracens and Wasps away, Quins at home, a few poor days at the office, a missed chance or two, injuries to key men, more injuries to more key men and the rest) than we do the ups (last-minute savers against Saints and Bath, composure in the face of potential disaster at Worcester, a bit of luck at the Irish, calm authority at Exeter, the emergence of Ed Slater, the tries of Niki Goneva).
The last six stops on this ride are evenly split between home and away; Exeter, Wasps and Saracens at home; Saints, Quins and Sale away.
It is certainly not an easy finish to a gruelling season. All of our rivals will have something to play for, and not just the chance to chuck a spanner in the works of the defending champions. Two of the six occupy the top two places in the table, all six are in the top eight. Throw in a fierce local derby and a match against a side celebrating their first major silverware, and hearts will be in mouths all the way to the finish line.
But, if you’re going to aim to be in your best form for the business-end of the season, you’ve got to be able to take on those challenges.
Many of the long-term absentees are either back or almost back to fitness. The return of Manu has put a spring in the step of everyone except his direct opponents, while Anthony Allen and Graham Kitchener are among those who’ve shaken off niggling injuries.
The only good things about losing the likes of Logo Mulipola earlier in the season is that they should have gas in the tank when we most need it. Julian Salvi, too, will surely have benefited from three weeks off after putting his body on the line 19 times already this season, and Tom Youngs not hitting every ruck or tackle during the Six Nations will have given his engine a well-earned rest too.
While the only thing Tigers can do is concentrate on our games, there will be some peaks and troughs for our rivals too. Saints go to Saracens and Bath; Bath have to go to Quins; Quins travel to Sharks and Chiefs after the Round 17 battle with Saracens; Sharks face four of the top five.
It’s not one for the faint-hearted. Please stay in your seats, hold on tight. Scream if you want to go faster!