In the last couple of weeks The Tig has noticed a proliferation of the expression ‘hoe in’ within the Tigers ranks. It is a term with an obvious agricultural history meaning ‘give it everything’, ‘get stuck in’ or a good old-fashioned ‘head down and graft’.
Probably gaining popularity with the injury problems in the squad which have required almost weekly re-shuffles in the line-up, especially among the backs, and several examples of players moving out of position and filling gaps for the benefit of the team, the term has been used by coaches and players at various times in interviews before and after matches.
To The Tig the expression sounds like a very appropriate match for the no-mess way in which Richard Cockerill likes his Tigers to go about their work.
Everyone is expected to work to their limit, no one is bigger than anyone else and everything is done for the benefit of the squad as a whole. There is undoubted talent throughout the squad but all the talent in the world has to be supported by proper hard work and an appreciation of your role within the whole.
The Tig spotted the story last week that Cockers revealed it was Toby Flood, as elegant a playmaker as you will see in the game, who used the term in training. “When your 10 is talking about the need to ‘hoe in’ you know you’re doing all right,” he said – and you can imagine the cheeky grin that accompanied it.
For all the top-class ability of the club’s greatest team in the era of European and national conquest, the likes of Johnson, Garforth, Corry, Back, Rowntree and yes Cockerill, could ‘hoe in’ with the best of them.
And is there a better way of describing the attributes that the likes of Deacon, Slater, Cole and Tom Youngs bring to the current team, without for a second wishing to dilute the importance of their rugby skills?