On a soaking, chilly afternoon on a Bank Holiday weekend, you could be forgiven for wanting it just to be all over, much like the Falcons defence. But the try at the end of Sunday’s win over Newcastle, the bonus-point try by Harry Potter, provided a personal high point for The Tig.
It was sustained, controlled, relentless and ultimately profitable, banking an extra point which could prove precious as the rest of the season unfolds.
Those last four or five minutes illustrated everything The Tig wants to see in rugby, everything that is Leicester Tigers rugby.
It was utterly enthralling, so much so that the sequence has been on repeat on video in quiet moments ever since.
Tigers began this final assault on the Falcons line with a penalty on the left, but turned over ball at their maul to give the visitors a scrum in their own territory with barely two minutes remaining. When they tried to play out, Adam Radwan’s hurried pass was knocked-on by Mike Brown and Tigers had one more, one final, unexpected maybe, chance to go for a fourth try.
You can only imagine the frustrations in the dressing room if they hadn’t found it too, having kept Newcastle at a full arm’s length for the whole afternoon in a game which seemed from the stands to have been played completely in one direction.
There were just 30 seconds left on the clock when the ball was put into a reset scrum on the right side of the Falcons 22. But a fifth point was safely bagged.
Steve Borthwick must have taken special pride in seeing that closing effort through 10 phases of possession, with his team executing on every breakdown, building momentum, increasing pressure on the opposition defence, hearing the crowd’s encouragement and finally finding the opening with a brilliantly-judged crosskick from Freddie Burns and a fine finish from Potter.
Along the way there were carries from the irrepressible Harry Wells, then replacement hooker Charlie Clare, a dart for a gap from JvP, a charge from Joe Heyes which took play almost up to the five-metre line, then Wells again and Clare again.
Wells had put in a colossal shift already but kept picking himself up and kept going, and his colleagues kept supporting the runner and clearing out each time.
Then, finally, Burns, with head up, found Potter who still had to make the catch, beat international full-back Brown and then take the final defender with him over the line.
The lights, the rain, the mud, the crowd, it all just added to the feel of a ‘proper’ rugby day and a proper Tigers finish.
“From what I have seen mate, all seems fine,” TMO Ian Tempest told referee Karl Dickson. The Tig could not agree more.