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Enjoy the game we've been starved of seeing

Ellis Genge and Co are finally back on the field and we should be able to enjoy every minute of it
Ellis Genge and Co are finally back on the field and we should be able to enjoy every minute of it

We’re back, well the players are anyway, with the supporters for now kept at a safe social distance from matchdays.

But at least there is a game to look forward to each weekend – and in three midweeks too – after the longest break in rugby memory.

And at some stage we know as fans that we’ll be back in too. We’re counting the days.

Disappointingly, it didn’t take long for the positivity about rugby’s re-emergence from the dark days of lockdown to wear out did it?

No sooner had Quins and Sale shaken hands – or whatever they’re allowed to do now – at the final whistle in the opening game of restart last Friday than criticism started. It mainly came around the number of penalties in the game and the length of time taken over scrums and re-set scrums.

The penalties mounted up on Saturday too, as Tigers found out to their cost at Exeter, with referees enforcing their new guidelines on the breakdown contest which, it is hoped, will bring the positive factors of speeding up the game, protecting players in vulnerable positions and providing more entertainment for the fans.

The Tig, rather than criticise, just soaked it all in and tried to enjoy the moment of seeing players back playing, irrespective of perceived quality or otherwise.

This is a honeymoon period for the game, just soak it in.

There’s plenty of time to pick things apart, but giving the game a shoeing should wait for now.

Enjoy the return, the fresh energy, the new signings, the sights and sounds of contact, the skills, the bravery, the TV coverage, the quips on the ref mic, the sight of replacements sitting in the stands, the 80 minutes we’ve been denied since March.

The only thing The Tig found to complain about Round 14 – or Week One if you prefer – was the final score at Exeter.

Messi front row

Surfing BBC Sport online this week, The Tig stumbled on a photo which looked like it accompanied a rugby article – and featuring two-thirds of world’s worst front-row combination.

There are many legends involving messy front rows, though at nine stones dripping wet and with a neck of silky striker proportions, this is one trick even the world's greatest footballer could not pull off.
But if he does want to try it...