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First steps provide Tigers base

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What a way to start a season, with a bonus-point win and a hat-trick of tries for last season's Player of the Year.

Tigers had some big names missing and some new faces finding their feet, but a crowd of more than 22,000 revelled in the second half’s four tries, three of them from Vereniki Goneva and another, from David Mele, which is already proving to be an internet hit.
Goneva scored 15 times in 2013/14 and is already a fifth of the way there again. The fact that he did it in front of his parents, making a rare trip outside of Fiji, just adds to the occasion.
The first try against the Falcons had more than an element of luck as the ball from Manu Tuilagi’s attempted offload hit a defender on its way to the line, but Niki was hungry for the pass, anticipated and reacted to score. The second showed anticipation and hunger, and it was only after watching the TV replays that The Tig realised just how much he still had to do to reach and finish after taking a subtle pass from fly-half Freddie Burns. The third came as Tigers defended their line and Niki picked off a Falcons pass to intercept and run free for 95 metres and score.
Mele’s score added the bonus point after the Barbieri Bunny Hop took the Tigers scrum beyond the Falcons tryline.
So far so good. Cockers and the players, though, were quick to point out where improvements would have to be made as well as enjoying the result, appreciating there is much work still to be done.
That’s just as it should be. We’re one game down in a league season of 22, one weekend into a nine-month season. But, as Cockers also pointed out on Saturday night, it’s five points on the board and they will be important when it comes to the shakedown later in the year.